England wants to block gender law in Scotland

ZAnother constitutional battle looms between the governments of Scotland and the UK as it becomes increasingly clear that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak an Easier and Accelerated Gender Identification Act passed in Edinburgh will not be authorised. London sees the plan by Nicola Sturgeon’s government as a violation of the principle of equality that applies to all Britons (UK Equality Act) and, according to media reports, is about to veto it. King Charles III would not then sign the law.

In December, the Scottish Parliament extended the rights of so-called trans people with the votes of the governing parties – the Scottish National Party SNP and the Greens – and the Scottish Labor Party. Under the law, citizens who wish to adopt a different gender will no longer need a doctor’s certificate of “gender dysphoria” or spend a specified amount of time in the opposite sex before receiving their “gender recognition certificate.” According to the law, children as young as 16 can legally identify their gender themselves. sturgeon had repeatedly taken the position in recent weeks that the law would not affect the women’s rights enshrined in the British Equality Act and that a veto by London would therefore be a “purely political decision” and therefore a “scandal”.

Legal advisors to the British government, on the other hand, fear that citizens in England and Wales will be treated unequally. For example, in relation to the law, Scottish prisoners could ask to be transferred to a women’s prison. Also likely to be Scottish trans people apply for scholarships or competitions reserved for women. Consequences are also seen for women’s shelters, such as women’s toilets. Conversely, Scottish women who identify as men would lose gender-specific legal protections, such as pregnancy protection. The argument was also put forward that the digital infrastructure of authorities, for example in the social welfare offices, but also at the borders, would have to be converted.

Edinburgh suspects political motives behind the blockade

The government in London would use its veto for the first time in “Section 35” of the so-called “Scotland Act”. The 1998 Act which extended Scottish independence sets out the powers and limits of autonomy. Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve recalled on Monday on the BBC that the 35 clause was inserted precisely for cases like the present one. He predicted a long-running legal battle in Scottish and UK courts. Lord Ken of Elie, who worked as an Advocate-General for the Scottish Government until 2020, even spoke of an obligation to blockade. In a research paper from the Policy Exchange think-tank, he argued that it is “not only inappropriate, but unconstitutional for the UK Government to allow a devolved legislative process to enact a provision that materially affects the application of the law at large.” United Kingdom has”.

Edinburgh suspects political motives behind the blockade of London, because several ministers in the conservative government under Sunak had spoken out against the content of the law. Conversely, London has accused Scottish Prime Minister Sturgeon of deliberately fomenting tensions between Scots and other citizens of the kingdom in order to advance her independence campaign.

Labor leader Kein Starmer attacked both sides on Monday: “This is being used by the SNP as a kind of pro-autonomy political football and by the (British) Government as a kind of divisive football over a specific issue.” Nevertheless, Starmer showed understanding for the constitutional and also the political position of the conservative government. “Gender rights issues are important and we must preserve all the progress we have made for women over many years, including safe spaces for women.”

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