A contentious Scottish measure intended to make it simpler for people to change their legal gender has been blocked by the UK government.
According to UK ministers, the proposed law would be in violation with the nationwide equality protections.
It is the first time a Scottish law has been suspended due to its potential impact on UK law.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon referred to the action as a “full-frontal attack” on the Scottish Parliament and promised to reject it.
If the veto was successful, she warned, it would be the “first of many,” and the Scottish government will “defend” the measure.
Sturgeon describes the legislative block as a “outrage” live
Concerning the effects of gender reforms, Sunak
“16 is too young to change one’s legal gender,” said Starmer.
Alister Jack, the Scottish secretary for the UK government, said he “had not taken this choice lightly” and will take the legal action on Tuesday to confirm the veto.
He said in a letter to Ms. Sturgeon that the bill would “significantly impact” British law on equal rights, highlighting the effects on single-sex organizations and clubs as well as the need for equal pay.
If approved to bring up an amended bill, he continued, UK ministers would “work together” with the Scottish government.
Scottish Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison was incensed to hear the news and referred to the move to stop the measure as “outrageous.”
She continued by calling the decision a “sad day for trans rights and a dark day for democracy in the UK” and stating that it demonstrated the UK government’s “contempt for devolution.”
This is a significant and original intervention from the UK government. Glenn Campbell, BBC Scotland political editor, has provided a presentational grey line analysis box.
They have previously been successful in challenging Holyrood legislation on the grounds that MSPs went beyond their authority.
However, they’ve never obstructed a Scottish legislation because they believe it will have a detrimental effect on UK law, in this case the Equalities Act.
With this choice, a disagreement between the Scottish and UK administrations over the procedure for legally changing one’s gender has been transformed into a substantial constitutional conflict.
According to what I’ve been informed, the UK Labour Party won’t object to this intervention; however, some Scottish Labour MSPs are incensed that the gender reforms they helped pass have been reversed.
Scottish officials have made it plain they plan to defend the legislation Holyrood has approved, in contrast to UK ministers who have hinted the bill may be modified. As a result, it is likely that this issue will wind up in court.
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The Scottish Parliament last month approved the Gender Recognition Bill, which would simplify the procedure for changing the country’s official gender.
The proposed legislation would reduce the eligibility age for obtaining a gender recognition certificate (GRC), a legal document attesting to a gender change, from 18 to 16.
Additionally, applicants would no longer require a gender dysphoria medical diagnosis and would just need to have lived as their adopted gender for three months as opposed to two years, or six months if they are 16 or older.
However, opponents of the plans are concerned that enabling anyone to “self-identify” as a woman could have an influence on women’s rights and access to single-sex facilities like refuges and changing rooms. Trans activists applauded the law.
In his letter, Mr. Jack warned that the modifications could “create considerable issues” due to the UK’s dual gender recognition laws, including “enabling more fraudulent or bad faith applications.”
Section 35 of the Scotland Act, the statute that established a Scottish Parliament with the authority to enact laws on a variety of subjects, gave UK ministers the ability to block the law.
Ministers have the authority to veto a Holyrood bill if they believe it will change Westminster-reserved rules in a way that will “adversely influence” how such laws are applied. However, the power hasn’t been used yet.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has stated that because the legislation is within the purview of the Scottish Parliament, there is no justification for the UK government to object.
Any attempt to thwart the reforms, according to her, would amount to “using trans individuals as a political weapon.”