Earlier this month, in an open letter to President Trump and Secretary Mattis, the Reform Movement expressed its opposition to a discriminatory ban on transgender people from serving in the armed forces. In response to President Trump’s signing of a directive banning transgender people from enlisting in the United States military late on Friday, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, and wider Reform Movement:
We strongly oppose the directive issued by President Trump late Friday evening barring transgender people from joining the military. Despite repeated calls from military leaders, members of Congress from both parties, numerous experts, and the inclusive example set by many of our international allies, the President moved ahead with the discriminatory ban. This ban is a gross violation of civil rights and a step away from the inclusive nation that the United States can and should be.
Our Jewish faith is rooted in the intrinsic value of the holiness in all people. Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of gender identity. This directive is an insult to the brave and patriotic transgender service members currently serving our country and those looking to enlist in the future. We will continue to stand for full equality and inclusion for all LGBTQ people in the U.S. armed forces and all aspects of American life.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.