They argue that Trump's tweet announcing his intent to change the military's policy on transgender service members violates their Fifth Amendment right to Equal Protection under the Due Process Clauses.
Lambda legal is one of the largest and oldest legal groups that advocate for LGBT+ rights in the USA and now the group is taking aim at the transphobic policy that was announced by Trump on Twitter last week.
"We believe any serious or credible review of the law and the facts in the present case make it clear that the President's proposed ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces will weaken, not strengthen our military, and is blatantly unconstitutional", the letter states. They say they disclosed their gender orientation relying on the existing policy that permits them to serve openly.
We've yet to hear about how the administration plans to deal with transgender service members who are actively fighting in combat. While such a ban has not yet gone into effect, the lawsuit explains this guidance from the commander-in-chief has already harmed transgender people who are in the military by taking away their "reasonable expectation of continued service".
"The President's order to remove transgender service members from the United States armed forces is nothing less than a purge".
"Because they identified themselves as transgender in reliance on (the Obama-era) earlier promise, Plaintiffs have lost the stability and certainty they had in their careers and benefits, including post-military and retirement benefits that depend on the length of their service", attorneys for the service members wrote in the court filing.More news: Bank of India records profit in Q1
The suit was filed today by 5 trans servicemen who have served in the military for decades across various branches. "I was very relieved and came out as transgender to my commanding officers, who were supportive".
The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates there are more than 15,000 transgender troops in the U.S. military.
Jennifer Levi, Director of GLAD's Transgender Rights Project, said in a statement, "This unjustifiable reversal of policy is devastating to these soldiers and harmful to our country".
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. "We can't afford to lose a single one of them".
On the day after the tweets, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford said the policy wouldn't be implemented until the military received guidance from the White House.
Plaintiffs are also represented by lawyers from the firms Foley Hoag and WilmerHale, the latter being the firm of Jamie Gorelick, who has represented Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump on various matters related to their White House roles.