LONDON – The British government said Monday. It would block a new law that would make it easier for people in Scotland to change their gender. Sparking a clash with transgender rights supporters. And the nationalist Scottish administration in Edinburgh.
Scotland’s secretary of state, Alastair Jack, said. He would block the bill from getting royal assent. The final formality that makes it law – because of concerns. It conflicts with “Great Britain-wide equality legislation”. This law, among other things, guarantees women. And girls access to single-sex spaces such as changing rooms and shelters.
The Scottish government is likely to challenge the decision in the UK Supreme Court.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the decision. By Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government a “full frontal attack.” On the Scottish Parliament, which approved the bill last month.
“The Scottish Government will defend the law. And stand up for the Parliament of Scotland,” he said on Twitter. “If this Westminster veto succeeds, it will be the first of many.”
The Scottish bill allows people aged 16. And over in Scotland to change their gender designation. On their identity documents by self-declaration. Removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
It also reduces the time trans people have to live in a different gender. Before the transition is recognised. From two years to three months for adults and six months for 16 and 17-year-olds.
The law sets Scotland apart from the rest of the United Kingdom. Which requires a medical diagnosis before individuals can be relocated for legal purposes.
The Scottish National Party-led government in Edinburgh. Said the legal change would improve the lives of transgender people. By allowing them to get official documents consistent with their gender identity.
Opponents claim it allows male predators to gain access to places intended for women. Such as shelters for domestic abuse survivors. Others argue that the smallest age for migration should remain at 18.
Scotland is part of the United Kingdom but, like Wales. And Northern Ireland, has its own semi-autonomous government. With wide powers in areas including healthcare.
This is the first time in the UK since the Scottish Government. And Parliament were established a quarter of a century ago. The government has blocked a Scottish law. The move will provide fodder for nationalists. Who want Scotland to break away from the UK and become an independent country.
Jack, the UK minister responsible for Scotland, said he “did not take this decision .”
“Transgender people who are going through the process. Their legal gender transition deserve our respect, support. And understanding,” she said in a letter to Sturgeon. “My decision today is about the consequences of legislation for GB-wide equality protection management.”
Shami Chakraborty, a Labor member of the House of Lords. And former director of the rights group Liberty. Said Sunak’s government may be trying to provoke a “culture war” with the move, but “they may have a point.”