TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Troy Singleton and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz that expresses opposition to President Donald Trump’s decision to prohibit individuals who are transgender from being able to serve in the military passed the Senate today.
“President Trump’s decision does not make our military stronger or more effective,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “This is a horrible decision that ignores facts. Allowing transgender individuals to serve has minimal effects on combat readiness or health care costs. The president is playing to the darkest recesses of human behavior. And by doing so, he is hurting the men and women on military bases.
“Whether someone is transgender has nothing to do with his or her commitment to serving our nation in wearing the uniform of the United States. We should be doing everything in our power to ensure that our military reflects not only the diversity that is America, but also respects the equality of each individual, which is the core of the promise that is America.”
In 2016, the RAND Corporation, commissioned by former Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, issued a report entitled, “Assessing the Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly.” The report assessed the health care needs of the transgender population, transgender service members’ potential health care utilization rates, and the costs associated with extending health care coverage for transition-related treatments. The report evaluated the potential readiness implications of allowing transgender service members to serve openly, and reviewed the experiences of foreign militaries that permit transgender service members to serve openly.
“The gender someone identifies with should have nothing to do with their ability to serve in our armed forces,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Transgender individuals have always served in our military. It should not make a difference now that many are open about their gender identity. It is a noble cause to want to join the United States armed forces; we should not be obstructing those who wish to be a part of it, we should be honoring them.”
The study concluded that the impact on readiness and health care costs would be minimal.
The resolution, SR-77, was released from the Senate by a unanimous voice vote.