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House Passes Kennedy Resolution Denouncing Trump's Transgender Troop Ban

Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., speaks in support of transgender members of the military on July 26, 2017, on Capitol Hill. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., speaks in support of transgender members of the military on July 26, 2017, on Capitol Hill. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Update at 4:45 p.m.: The resolution has passed, largely along party lines.

Original post: 

The U.S. House will vote Thursday on a resolution by Rep. Joseph Kennedy III denouncing President Trump’s ban on transgender service members.

The measure will not reverse the policy, which is set to go into effect April 12. But Kennedy told WBUR that it sends a strong message to the White House, the Pentagon and those serving in the military.

"I’m hoping to show that there is a bipartisan rejection of a policy that was put forth by tweet," the Newton Democrat said of the vote, which is expected to pass in the Democratic-led House.

"If our country stands for one thing, it’s that here everybody counts, and we see you for who you are and we are going to protect you,” said Kennedy, who chairs the Equality Caucus’s Transgender Equality Task Force. “We are going to celebrate you and we are going to treat you with the honor and dignity you deserve.”

In 2017, Trump announced the policy in tweets aimed at reversing the 2016 Obama administration policy that allowed transgender members already serving to do so openly. The following year, transgender recruits were allowed to enlist.

The president’s tweets spurred a nearly two-year legal battle, which ended this week when a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in the government’s favor removed the last procedural hurdle to the policy going into effect.

The policy will ban most transgender troops and recruits from serving, and prevent current service members from transitioning.

Members of the military currently who do not serve according to the gender of their birth would likely be discharged, according to a Defense Department memo outlining the new policy.

Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect the correct hometown for Joseph Kennedy III. We regret the error.

Earlier:

Kimberly Atkins Twitter Senior News Correspondent
Kimberly Atkins is a senior news correspondent for WBUR, covering national political news from Washington, D.C., with a New England focus.

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