The Scottish Government hailed what it called “a historic day for equality” and overwhelmingly backed plans in a 86-39 vote, to extend the system for obtaining a gender recognition certificate (GRC) to 16 and 17-year-olds.
However, some expressed concerns over the rights of women and girls during the three days of debate. Immediately after the vote, Scottish secretary, Alister Jack, said: “We share the concerns that many people have regarding certain aspects of this bill and in particular the safety issues for women and children. We will look closely at that, and also the ramifications for the 2010 Equality Act and other UK-wide legislation, in the coming weeks – up to and including a section 35 order stopping the bill going for royal assent if necessary.”
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Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, said that the Scottish Government had “not addressed the full implications of their bill”. She added: “The UK Government is now looking at provisions that can prompt reconsideration and allow MSPs to address these issues.”
While gender recognition is a devolved matter, the new legislation would impact the equality law reserved for Westminster. Mr Jack said that the UK Government will consider legal action in the Supreme Court.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The bill as passed is within legislative competence, and was backed by an overwhelming majority, with support from all parties. Any attempt by the UK Government to undermine the democratic will of the Scottish Parliament will be vigorously contested by the Scottish Government.”
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