Gov. Dannel Malloy acted fast Wednesday in response to President Donald Trump's announcement via Twitter that he intends to ban transgendered individuals from serving in the military in any capacity.
Malloy announced he had signed an executive order reinforcing the state’s nondiscrimination policies within the Connecticut Military Department.
The order directs the Connecticut National Guard, the Connecticut Air National Guard, and the other armed forces of the state to take no action that discriminates against service members in enlistment, promotion, or any other aspect of their service, on the basis of gender identity or expression, unless superseded by federal law, regulation, or formal directive from the U.S. Department of Defense.
"Any able person who wishes to serve should have that right — regardless of race, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression," Malloy said via Twitter.
It also directs the Connecticut Military Department to review existing personnel policies and any formal directive from the Department of Defense or other federal entity "to ensure that service members are afforded the maximum protection and the greatest opportunity to serve our state and nation, regardless of their gender identity or expression, and to minimize any discriminatory impact on service members from any federal directive," a statement from Malloy said.
A recent study estimated that there are 2,500 to 7,000 transgender service members currently serving on active duty and an additional 1,500 to 4,000 in the reserves – all of whom could be discharged from the military under Trump’s new policy.
“President Trump’s announcement that he plans to ban transgender individuals from serving in our military is ignorant and profoundly troubling," Malloy said in a statement. "The reality is that a person’s gender identity or expression has nothing to do with their willingness or ability to defend our nation."
In June 2016, then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter lifted the ban on transgender service members.
"The president’s announcement sends a frightening signal to the public that our government condones discrimination and raises serious questions about what other advancements towards inclusion in the military may also be in jeopardy," Malloy said. "For our part, we have been fierce and vocal advocates for the rights of transgender individuals in Connecticut, and we will not abandon them now.”
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