The Scottish government has announced its intention to challenge Westminster’s decision to block its proposed the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill that would remove legal and medical hurdles to changing sex on a birth certificate and reduce the age limit to do so from 18 to 16.
The Scottish legislation aimed to simplify and speed up the process for transgender people to legally change their gender. However, the UK government claimed that the proposed reforms could potentially affect the Equality Act and the protection of women.
In response to Westminster’s decision, Scotland’s Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville stated, “The parliament has now spoken. We were willing to work with the UK government after this bill was passed. They’ve refused to do so. Now, even if people disagree with the bill, I would hope they would agree with the fact that we need to have a strong Scottish parliament and a Scottish government and a first minister willing to stand up for that parliament.”
Rishi Sunak defended the decision to block the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill stating, “It was a decision that we made after taking very careful and considered advice, and we had concerns as the UK government secretary of state set this out at the time, concerns about how Scotland’s gender recognition act would interact with reserve powers, about the operation of the equalities act, the protection of women elsewhere in the UK as well. And that’s why we took the decision to block the GRA. And obviously if there’s a court process, we will follow that through.”
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