Collins amendment would protect transgender service members

Andrew Cummings
September 13, 2017

After Trump made his announcement, the head of each branch of the USA military issued a statement supporting their trans troops.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would specifically express to Congress that all qualified individuals who meet the standards to enlist should be allowed to serve in the military. Gender identity should have nothing to do with it.

The amendment was attached to a big defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, that allocates nearly $700 billion for the Department of Defense.

Donald Trump's Defense Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis is pushing ahead with the administration's plans to ban transgender people from the military.

Collins introduced a bipartisan amendment with Sen.

The amendment from Sens.

Republican Senator Susan Collins of ME and Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of NY have introduced an amendment to the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act that would override the president's ban and replace it with language that specifically says trans people are allowed to serve. The military leadership does not support banning transgender service members.

The amendment drafted by Gillibrand and Collins would also require Mattis to complete his review of the policy by the end of the year and report his findings to Congress.

The new amendment also directs Mattis to focus his study on the issue of new recruits, something he was in the process of considering when Trump announced his ban.

In a statement released in July, McCain said, "There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military - regardless of their gender identity".

Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is now battling brain cancer, will lead debate on the NDAA on the Senate floor this week.

Gillibrand and Collins were also both at the forefront of repealing "don't ask, don't tell," the policy that allowed gay and lesbian service members to be discharged due to their sexual orientation.

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