The Latest: 3rd judge blocks military transgender ban

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SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on courts blocking the president's efforts to keep transgender people from enlisting in the military (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

A third federal judge has blocked President Donald Trump's ban on transgender people joining the military.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman issued her ruling Monday in a case brought by several plaintiffs, including a soldier based in Washington state and two young men who hope to enlist.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson also intervened in the case to challenge Trump's policy.

Pechman found that the ban likely violates the plaintiffs' rights to due process and to equal protection under the law without advancing any government interest. She also said it would harm the state's efforts to protect its residents from discrimination.

Pechman blocked the government from imposing the ban pending further proceedings.

Judges in Maryland and Washington, D.C., also have ruled against the ban. It had been due to take effect Jan. 1.


8:10 a.m.

The Pentagon official tells The Associated Press that transgender people can enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite President Donald Trump's opposition.

The new policy reflects growing legal pressure on the issue and the difficult hurdles the federal government would have to cross to enforce Trump's demand to ban transgender individuals from the military. Two federal courts already have ruled against the ban.

Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical and mental conditions that make it possible, though difficult, for them to join the armed services.

Maj. David Eastburn says the enlistment of transgender recruits will start Jan. 1 and go on amid the legal battles. The Department of Defense also is studying the issue.

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