(AP) — The top legal officers in 18 states and the District of Columbia are asking Congress to pass legislation prohibiting discrimination against transgender service members.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin sent the letter dated Thursday. It asks the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees to include transgender protections in the National Defense Authorization Act.

Eighteen other attorneys general also signed the document.

Attorney General Doug Chin speaks to media  addressing the 9th Circuit of Appeals defeat of Trump's travel ban. 12 june 2017
Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin sent the letter calling for Congress to thwart the president’s plan. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The president’s position would put in place a policy that “violates fundamental constitutional and American values,” the attorneys general said.

“The new ban harms our states’ transgender residents and marginalizes an entire group of people based solely on gender identity,” the letter said.

On Thursday, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said U.S. policy on transgender individuals serving in uniform hasn’t and won’t change until Defense Secretary Jim Mattis receives the president’s policy direction and Mattis determines how to implement it.

The Pentagon hasn’t released data on the number of transgender people currently serving, but a Rand Corp. study has estimated between 1,320 and 6,630, out of 1.3 million active-duty troops.

Attorneys general from the following joined Hawaii in signing the letter: California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

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