(Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Donald Trump has beensued again over his plan to ban transgender Americans from serving in themilitary, setting the stage for another bruising court battle overa directive from the White House.

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The lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed Mondayin federal court in Maryland, alleges Trump’s order violates theEqual Protection clause of the Constitution. An Aug. 25 White Housememo gave Defense Secretary James Mattis six months to return tothe previous policy barring transgender soldiers and immediatelybarred transgender-related expenses.

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Trump has inflamed U.S. cultural wars since his electionvictory, pushing back on his predecessor’s liberal polices andpleasing his conservative base. His executive orders have targetedimmigration, while his Justice Department started a review ofaffirmative action in colleges and joined a suit to halt the spreadof gay rights in the workplace. The president’s policy proposalshave also hinted at fights over abortion and doctor-assistedsuicide.

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The ACLU is the same national organization that helped stallTrump’s proposed ban against travelers from several Muslimcountries, a narrowed version of which took effect in June pendinga U.S. Supreme Court hearing in October.

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The Department of Defense concluded in 2016 that there was nobasis for the military to exclude transgender men and women fromserving openly, subject to the same fitness requirements as otherAmericans, the ACLU said. New transgender recruits were due to bepermitted to enlist on July 1, it said.

‘Critical roles’

Thousands of transgender Americans now serve in the armedforces, putting themselves in harm’s way to protect the rights andfreedoms in the U.S., the ACLU said in the complaint.

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"Some perform critical roles in intelligence analysis, disasterrelief, medical care, and pre-deployment training at bases in theUnited States," the organization said. "Others have deployed tocombat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan."

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The plaintiffs in the suit include Petty Officer Brock Stone,34, who has served in the U.S. Navy for 11 years, including anine-month deployment to Afghanistan, and Staff Sergeant Kate Cole,27, who has served in the U.S. Army for almost 10 years, includinga year in Afghanistan where she served as a team leader anddesignated marksman.

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Five members of the armed forces earlier this month sued Trumpand his top military brass seeking to halt the reversal of thetransgender policy put in place by the Obama administration. Thenew suit by the ACLU adds significant resources to the fight as theorganization has seen its membership swell since Trump’selection.

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The service members in the earlier case, who are suinganonymously, say they disclosed their gender orientation relying onthe existing policy that permits them to serve openly.

Flash point

Treatment of transgender people has become a flash point associal conservatives lead fights in some states to require studentsand sometimes adults to use schools and public restroomscorresponding to their gender at birth.

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In a three-part Tweet, Trump outlined his reasoning forreversing the Obama transgender policy. “After consultation with myGenerals and military experts, please be advised that the UnitedStates Government will not accept or allow Transgender individualsto serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must befocused on the decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot beburdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption thattransgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

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The ACLU included screen shots of the tweets in the complaint,saying they were were a "purely political" attempt to accommodatethe most conservative legislators who support the president.

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"The Trump administration has provided no evidence that thispronouncement wasbased on any analysis of the actual cost anddisruption allegedly caused by allowing men and women who aretransgender to serve openly," according to the complaint.

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The Military Times pointed out that the cost of providing Viagraand sexual dysfunction medications to members of the armed forcesis 10 times the costs associated with health-care services fortransgender troops.

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