Biden: No question transgender people can serve in military

Joe Biden
In this Sept. 22, 2015, photo, Vice President Joe Biden gives a 'thumbs-up' after speaking at the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities' (HBCU) National HBCU Week annual conference in Washington. The Human Rights Campaign says Biden will be the keynote speaker for its annual dinner. The national gay rights group is hosting the dinner Oct. 3 in Washington. The speech is a major opportunity for Biden to demonstrate his support among LGBT voters. Biden is considering running for president in 2016 but hasn’t announced a decision. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden says there is no longer any question that transgender people can serve in the U.S. military.

Biden is giving a keynote address to a prominent LGBT rights group, the Human Rights Campaign. He says all Americans are qualified to serve and should be permitted to serve.

Biden is calling transgender rights the civil rights issue of our time.

The vice president’s statement goes further than what the Obama administration has said before.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has said the Pentagon’s current regulations banning transgender individuals are outdated and has ordered a study aimed at ending the barrier. The White House has said President Barack Obama supports the approach.

But neither Carter nor Obama has said unequivocally that transgender people should be able to serve.

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