Conservative groups, including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, have applauded President Donald Trump's decision, announced in a series of tweets Wednesday morning, to bar transgender Americans from serving in the military.
"I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to return to military priorities - and not continue the social experimentation of the Obama era that has crippled our nation's military," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a Marine veteran, said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. "The military can now focus its efforts on preparing to fight and win wars rather than being used to advance the Obama social agenda."
Perkins said that with the announcement, Trump showed he "recognizes what the nation's military leadership and the American people realize, this Obama policy makes no sense."
"The last thing we should be doing is diverting billions of dollars from mission-critical training to something as controversial as gender reassignment surgery," Perkins continued. "However, the cost to readiness, recruitment, retention, morale and cohesion would have been even greater under the Obama policy. As our nation faces serious national security threats, our troops shouldn't be forced to endure hours of transgender 'sensitivity' classes and politically-correct distractions like this one."
As reported, Trump said that after consulting with "my generals and military experts," he decided that "The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military."
The President explained that "Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."
Tim Wildmon, President of The American Family Association, also praised the move, pointing out that his organization "has been highly critical of the transgender military policy of President Obama's administration."
"AFA applauds President Trump for his courageous decision to end the usage of our military for social engineering and political correctness," he said in a statement. "American families deserve a military that is focused solely on readiness and national defense."
Evangelical leader Franklin Graham said Trump is "exactly right" and that he's "proud that we have a president who sees and understands the truth."
"As Americans, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, we should celebrate when our leaders do the right thing for our country," Graham said. "President Obama's policy on this was a mistake. We don't need people in the military who are confused about their gender-and the military shouldn't be aiding in gender 'transitions.' President Trump is laser focused on making our military better and stronger. Pray for him as he faces critics and opposition."
With his announcement, Trump is reversing a year-old measure established by former President Barack Obama. While transgender military personnel were allowed to serve openly with the new policy, Obama had delayed implementation of allowing transgender people to enlist until July 1, 2017.
The Williams Institute, a pro-LGBT think tank, estimates that there are currently 7,300 biological males and 1,500 biological females with gender dysphoria serving on active duty in the military.
An earlier study from the FRC found that Obama's transgender policy would have cost taxpayers up to $3.7 billion over the next ten years, citing the direct medical costs and the cost of lost deployable time.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), who recently offered an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would have blocked the Pentagon from offering gender transition therapies to active-duty service members, also applauded the move.
"Pleased to hear that @realDonaldTrump shares my readiness and cost concerns, & will be changing this costly and damaging policy," she said on Twitter.