U.S. Army officials are considering making changes to an existing policy on “compassionate reassignment” to allow soldiers to request relocation if they are concerned that state or local laws discriminate against them based on gender, sex, religion, race, or pregnancy, according to a new report.
The draft edit, which was first reported by Military.com, would add language to clarify what would make a soldier eligible for a “compassionate reassignment.” Currently most soldiers who receive permission for such a move are experiencing family problems that cannot be solved through “leave, correspondence, power of attorney, or help of family members or other parties,” according to Army regulations cited by the outlet.
The new guidance, if implemented, would allow commanders to reassign soldiers facing discrimination.
The report says the update is “far from final” and would require approval from Army Secretary Christine Wormuth.
A service spokesperson told Military.com that the Army “does not comment on leaked, draft documents.”
“AR 600-100 and 600-200 establish the criteria for which soldiers may request for a compassionate reassignment. The chain of command is responsible for ensuring Soldiers and Families’ needs are supported and maintain a high quality of life,” spokesperson Angel Tomko told the outlet.
The policy change was first drafted in April in response to several state laws, according to the report. However, the tweak was first floated before a leaked draft opinion revealed that the Supreme Court may be poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Sources told Military.com that it is unclear if including pregnancy on the list was intended to protect only pregnant service members and their families from employment discrimination or if it would also allow service members to request transfers over allegedly discriminatory policies on “reproductive rights.”
According to the report, one of the “discriminatory” policies that could have prompted the proposed change is Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law, which prohibits instructors from teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms. That bill, however, was designed to give parents the power to determine when and how their children learn about sensitive subjects.
Other policies cited include state laws requiring transgender students to play on sports teams that align with their biological sex and Texas governor Greg Abbott’s directive to the state department of Family and Protective Services to investigate doctors and parents who enable a child’s gender-transition surgery.