A bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers of Congress is seeking to thwart President Donald Trump's transgender military ban.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced legislation Thursday that would permit transgender service members to continue to serve and allow trans people to join the military.
“President Trump’s ban on transgender service members is discrimination, it undermines our military readiness, and it is an insult to the brave and patriotic transgender Americans who choose to serve in our military,” Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement shared with NBC News.
Collins, one of only a handful of Republicans to support repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy nearly a decade ago, said, "Anyone who is qualified, able to be deployed into war zones and wants to serve should continue to be allowed to do so, including our transgender troops."
"If individuals are willing to put on the uniform of our country and risk their lives for our freedoms, then we should be expressing our gratitude to them, not trying to kick them out of the military,” Collins said in a statement.
Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.; Joseph Kennedy, D-Mass.; John Katko, R-N.Y.; Susan Davis, D-Calif.; and Anthony Brown, D-Md.
The bipartisan bills were announced just two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration can enforce the trans military ban even as lower court proceedings continue. The earliest the Supreme Court could potentially take a case to assess the constitutionality of the ban would be next autumn.