The British government decided on Monday January 16 to block a Scottish law facilitating the recognition of gender change, which augurs well for a legal battle between London and the independence government in Edinburgh, which has denounced a “frontal attack” against local institutions.
According to the Secretary of State for Scotland in the British government, Alister Jack, this law would have a “opposing impact on the operation of equality legislation” across the UK. After a “careful consideration”Mr Jack explained that he had decided to resort to a provision which makes it possible to prevent the text from obtaining the King’s assent and coming into force. “My decision today is about the impact of the legislation on the operation of equality protections”he pointed out, “I did not take this decision lightly. »
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon denounced on Twitter a “frontal attack on our democratically elected Scottish Parliament and its ability to make its own decisions”. The Scottish Government “will defend this law” and “Scottish Parliament”she added, denouncing a “Westminster veto”.
Introduced by the independence government and adopted on December 22, 2022 by the Scottish Parliament after heated debates, this text lowers from 18 to 16 the age required to apply for recognition of a gender change. It removes the requirement for a medical and psychiatric diagnosis when applying for a gender recognition certificate. It reduces the period an applicant must live in their acquired gender from two years to three months, with an additional three-month reflection period.
The government of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak thus becomes the first to use this blocking mechanism, risking triggering a legal and political standoff, while the Scottish government was recently denied the right by the Supreme Court to organize a new independence referendum.
“We will defend this law absolutely, solidly and rigorously and with a high degree of confidence”Nicola Sturgeon had declared on Monday morning, before the central government in London made its position known. “We will defend the text before the Supreme Court” if necessary, she had warned.