The British government on Monday blocked a Scottish law that would have made it easier for people to change their gender for legal purposes.
Scottish law would allow people to transition by self-declaration, rather than requiring a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria. The Scottish government said the move would ensure people could more easily obtain official documents that align with their gender identity.
Scottish secretary Alister Jack said in a statement on Monday that he had stopped the bill from going ahead, saying he was “concerned” it would affect equality legislation in Britain.
“After thorough and careful consideration of all relevant advice and policy implications, I am concerned that this legislation will have an adverse impact on the working of equality law in Britain,” Jack said.
“Transgender people who are going through the legal sex change process deserve our respect, support and understanding,” he added. “My decision today is on the consequences of the legislation for the operation of equality protections throughout GB and other reserved matters.”
The bill attracted much scrutiny in Scotland, with opponents arguing that it would undermine women’s rights. Author JK Rowling, who has been criticized for her anti-transgender comments and stances, voiced her opposition to the bill on Twitter. to post last fall, saying he was in “solidarity” with the women who were protesting.
The Scottish Parliament passed the bill in December and it was backed by the Scottish National Party.
Jack said in the statement that he would be willing to reconsider an amended bill on the issue in the future, but that the current bill would have had “significant” impacts in Scotland, England and Wales.
“If the Scottish government decides to resubmit an amended bill for reconsideration in the Scottish Parliament, I hope we can work together to find a constructive way forward that respects both the return and the operation of UK Parliament legislation. ”, he said in the statement.