Starting Jan. 1, the United States military will allow transgender individuals to enlist, despite President Donald Trump’s declared policy banning them from service.
The decision comes after federal judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia refused to allow the policy to go into effect while a federal case against it works its way through the courts.
In October, Kollar-Kotelly had put a preliminary injunction on Trump’s policy. The Trump administration moved to stay that injunction.
“The court will not stay its preliminary injunction pending defendants’ appeal,” she wrote on Monday.
The Trump administration is currently fighting two separate lawsuits against the policy. One was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and another brought by two LGBTQ rights groups: the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders.
Judges in both cases have moved to block Trump’s ban over the past three months. Trump had had announced his decision on Twitter in July, and signed a directive reinstating the ban on Aug. 25. The ban had been lifted in 2016.
In November, a U.S. District Judge in Maryland ruled in the ACLU case that the Trump administration could not stop funding gender transition surgeries.
In the case brought by the two LGBTQ rights groups, the Trump administration argued that the government would suffer “seriously and irreparably harmed if forced” to admit transgender soldiers on Jan. 1.
On Monday, Kollar-Kotelly wrote, “In sum, having carefully considered all of the evidence before it, the court is not persuaded that defendants will be irreparably injured by allowing the accession of transgender individuals into the military beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.”
Jennifer Levi, the director of GLAD’s of Transgender Rights Project said in a statement, that, “the military has had nearly a year and a half to be ready to implement an enlistment policy its own leaders created and adopted.”
“High-ranking military leaders who oversaw training when the military made the first changes to transgender service policies have said the military is ready to accept transgender enlistees,” she said. “This administration needs to stop creating fake problems and get on with it.”