Teenager Elizabeth Kyle-Labell has tried to register for the military draft. She’s been denied twice despite women now having the same combat role opportunities in the military as men.
Now Kyle-Labell has become the face of a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Selective Service System. The 17-year-old is suing for her right to register for the selective service. The lawsuit aims to overturn a 1981 Supreme Court ruling that upheld the “men only” draft registration rule.
Elizabeth Kyle-Labell is fighting to end what she sees as discrimination against women in the armed forces. Her passion was sparked by the 2013 ruling that women may serve in all combat roles in the U.S. Military. For more information about lifting the ban on females in combat roles please see the video below:
Kyle-Labell has attempted to register for the selective service twice. She was turned away each time. She isn’t the first female to attempt to register for the draft. Since the 1981 ruling that only men needed to register for the selective service several women have attempted to register. All were turned away based on the fact that women, until as recently as 2013, could not serve in combat roles.
Women are now able to serve in combat roles. The purpose of the selective service is to create a pool of individuals that are ready for combat. The 1981 ruling that only men needed to register was based on the fact that women were ineligible for combat roles and therefore could not be part of that combat-ready pool. The 2013 ruling challenges this ruling. The one-sided draft rules are being reevaluated. Kyle-Labell’s attorney, Roy Den Hollander, explains his clients stance against the 1981 ruling in the following statement:
“The court decided that the draft is there to create a pool of people who can be in combat, and since women were barred from combat, it wasn’t discrimination to bar them from the draft, Now women are allowed to be in combat, but they still can’t register.”
Despite their past objections the Selective Service seems to offering little pushback against the proposed changes and may even be viewed as supportive of Kyle-Labell’s fight for women to be included in the draft. Pat Schuback, public affairs specialist for the Selective Service System, released the following statement to Yahoo Parenting:
“We’re not opposed to women registering; we just follow the law.”
It remains to be seen whether or not the draft criteria will be changed. The court date for the trial has not been set. Kyle-Labell and her attorney plan to use the summer to spread awareness for their cause, gather info from other women looking to register for the selective service and, like many other recent high school grads, Kyle-Labell looks forward to preparing for her upcoming freshman year at Moravian College in Pennsylvania.
Do you think women should be required to register for the selective service? Share your thoughts in the comments below!