Outrageous Anti-Transgender Amendment Offered to NDAA
Jul 15, 2017, 00:30
The ACLU has sent letters to House members urging them to vote against the Hartzler Amendment.
Democrats argued the true intent of the amendment was to discriminate against transgender troops, as not being able to receive medical care would effectively prevent transgender people from being able to serve in the military.
"We are saying taxpayers in this country right now will not foot the bill for this", Hunter said.
"Let's make America great again", he concluded. Should the bill pass, it would be a major setback for transgender rights in the military, and could potentially lead the way for another outright ban on transgender people serving altogether.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland challenged the idea that the push was about spending or military readiness.
The amendment was immediately blasted by military LGBT groups, who said it was "cruel" to deny such health benefits to Americans serving in the military. "It has one objective and one goal only: to politically denigrate some of our fellow citizens".
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, a Republican, proposed an amendment which would block the Department of Defense from providing healthcare related to transitions for transgender troops. Because she's anxious cisgender troops won't be able to handle sharing showering facilities with transgender troops, she believes that transgender service is a threat to national security comparable to that posed by North Korea, Russia, and ISIS. Hartzler's initial amendment would have rolled back the Obama-era policy allowing transgender service members to serve openly, which she said she was withdrawing until Mattis decided how he was going to address the policy.
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House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., gave a tepid appraisal of the Hartzler amendment ahead of the vote on Thursday, stopping short of a clear endorsement.
Her new amendment about medical care was approved by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday night. Jared Polis of Colorado and Patrick McGovern of MA dissenting.
Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., called the amendment a form of discrimination and bigotry "which had no other goal but to denigrate transgender men and women who serve our country".
"This is a discriminatory, unconstitutional attack on transgender service members and their families, plain and simple", the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a letter to Congress.
According to the Williams Institute, there are over 15,000 transgender individuals serving in active duty or in the Guards or Reserves, and "an estimated 134,000 transgender individuals are veterans or are retired from Guard or Reserve service".
Transgender people were supposed to be allowed to enlist on July 1 this year, but the day before the deadline Defense Secretary Jim Mattis deferred the decision for another 6 months. The costs of providing them with gender transition-related medical care are relatively low: RAND estimates 30 to 140 people would seek new hormone treatments per year, and 25 to 130 would seek gender transition-related surgeries.
"The Hartzler Amendment is specifically created to discriminate against transgender members of the Armed Forces and their families", Ian Thompson, legislative representative for the ACLU, stated.
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