President Trump announced today on Twitter that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the military.
"After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military," the president wrote. "Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."
The surprise announcement was praised by conservative and religious groups.
"This is a major victory for conservatives, for our military and it's a milestone from a standpoint of ending and reversing Obama-era social engineering policies that really crippled our nation's military," Family Research Council president Tony Perkins told The Todd Starnes Show.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) had proposed an amendment to a spending bill that would have banned the Pentagon from spending money on transition surgery or related hormone therapy.
"Our military is not advancing the desires of individuals. Our military is about collectively advancing the interests of America and securing our nation's future," Perkins told me.
The ACLU and the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers were among those denouncing the president's decision.
“There is little justification to oppose open Transgender service as well as full health care support for servicemen and veterans for full sexual reassignment,” said Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. “This order serves to harm military readiness and deeply insults already-serving transgender patriots in the military.”
Rand Corporation estimates as many as 2,450 service members are transgender - just a fraction of the 1.3 million people serving in the military.
"It's not about the individual - it's about the military, " Perkins said. "President Obama used the military for the advancement of his radical social agenda. This president is saying no. The military is there for one purpose only - to keep America secure."