On December 21, I wrote this post about a letter that was read aloud to women who were standing outside the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood to protest the likely passage of the “Gender Recognition Reform” bill, which would have allowed anyone (over 16) to be legally recognized as the opposite sex on the basis of their self-declaration.
About a week later, a Member of the Scottish Parliament celebrated the passage of the law by invoking the memory of Nelson Mandela. I thought that was a bit odd, because Nelson Mandela himself was such a staunch advocate of separating women and men in prison on the basis of sex that he got the principle enshrined in international law.
Today, it has come out that the UK government plans to block the law. This is a big deal and, from what I can tell, Scottish feminists are quite happy about it, even though it means that the UK is, for the first time in history, blocking a law that was passed by the Scottish Parliament.
The mechanism through which this is possible is something called a s.35 order.
The Secretary of State may do this upon making a finding that the bill in question (in this case the Gender Recognition Bill) contains provisions “which make modifications of the law as it applies to reserved matters and which the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds to believe would have an adverse effect on the operation of the law as it applies to reserved matters.”
My understanding is that no previous Secretary of State for Scotland has ever invoked this measure.
It’s interesting to me that so many Scottish people (feminists, especially) support this move by the UK to block a wildly unpopular law that was enacted by its own government. I have to wonder (rhetorically, of course, as I would never tell them what to do) whether that will give Members of the Scottish Parliament pause before doing something so wretched again.