Katko Town Hall

Rep. John Katko answers questions during a town hall meeting at Cayuga Community College in 2018.

U.S. Rep. John Katko joined House Democrats on Thursday to support a resolution opposing President Donald Trump's ban on openly transgender individuals serving in the military. 

The House passed the non-binding resolution by a 238-185 vote. Five Republicans, including Katko, supported the measure. Another New York GOP member, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, also voted for the resolution. 

Katko was the lone Republican cosponsor of the resolution. 

"I supported the resolution before the House today which prohibits discrimination in the military based on sexual orientation," Katko, R-Camillus, said in a statement. "Any American ready and willing to serve our great nation should be given that opportunity, so long as he or she is able to dispatch all duties." 

Katko voted against a GOP-backed amendment in 2017 that would've prevented the Department of Defense from funding gender reassignment surgeries for transgender service members. He was one of 24 GOP members who opposed the measure. 

The ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military will take effect in April. There are certain exceptions that would allow transgender personnel to continue serving, including if they were diagnosed with gender dysphoria and already openly transgender, then they make remain in the military "in their preferred gender" and receive medical treatment. 

Trump announced in 2017 that he would reverse an Obama administration policy allowing openly transgender individuals to serve in the military. At the time, Trump tweeted that the U.S. "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military." He maintained that the decision was due to "tremendous medical costs" and "disruption that transgender in the military would entail." 

There were injunctions to block the ban, but the Supreme Court lifted two of the injunctions. A federal judge lifted the remaining injunction — a move that allows the policy to take effect April 12. 

Several groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have filed lawsuits challenging the ban. 

It's unlikely the House-passed resolution will be considered by the Republican-controlled Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who spoke in support of the resolution Thursday, called it "cruel." 

"No one with the strength and bravery to serve in the U.S. military should be turned away because of who they are," she said. 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.