House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to press reports that the Department of Defense will establish a working group on transgender service:
I applaud Secretary Carter’s decision to establish a working group to study the policy and readiness implications of allowing transgender persons to serve openly. The brave men and women who serve in our military should not be excluded from the rights and freedoms that they risk their lives to protect. It's that simple.
Incorporating the presumption that transgender individuals can serve openly, without adverse impact on the military effectiveness and readiness, is a step in the right direction. But it is long past time that we definitively and affirmatively make it clear that gender identity should have no bearing on an individual's ability to serve.
I look forward to the day when an individual can no longer be cast out of the military simply because of their gender identity.