SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The following statement can be attributed to Palm Center director Aaron Belkin in response to Rep. Collin Peterson’s (D-MN) June 18vote against a measure that would block funding for the military’s transgender ban. The measure passed 243-189, with 8 Republicans voting in favor. Rep. Peterson was the only Democrat to oppose the measure. In 2010, Rep. Peterson also voted against allowing gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans to serve openly in the military, a change uniformly hailed as a success.
“Every Service Chief testified that inclusive policy for transgender troops was successful, and the Pentagon’s own data show that the cost of inclusive policy was negligible at $3 million per year, which is far less than it will cost to fire and replace fully fit transgender service members. Multiple polls have shown that approximately two-thirds of Americans support inclusive policy for transgender troops, and research shows that the new transgender ban will undermine military readiness, just like the failed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.
“Rep. Peterson has a lot of explaining to do as to why he supports wasting taxpayer dollars to implement the military’s shameful and unnecessary ban. He was wrong on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and he’s wrong now.”