Scottish “Equal” marriage and Trans issues… here we go again

The Scottish parliament has just released it’s own “Equal” Marriage Bill. (PDF Link)

The nature of devolved legislative powers is that there is much they can’t fix, such as reintroduction of the fast-track Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) process. However, the things they could have fixed from the English and Welsh version… they haven’t.

Firstly, the spousal veto is still present, without time limit. (Schedule 2, paragraph 3 – starts on the bottom of page 38) In a nutshell, if you want gender recognition including employment law protection and you are married, you’d better hope you have a cooperative spouse. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to go through the cost of initiating an annulment yourself. That is, of course, assuming your spouse isn’t inclined to engage in delaying tactics over any divorce because they can make you wait a long, long time to get your legal rights if so.

Quite why the legal gender of the person you are married to is more important than if they are living as and perceived by the world as a particular gender, or if they have a particular genital configuration, has yet to be explained by anyone involved. For the avoidance of doubt, because many legislators didn’t know this, a spouse has no say in change of legal name and going “full time”, in starting hormone treatment or in surgery. There is also no other situation that partners might find just as objectionable, such as religious conversion or racking up huge debts, that require a special veto clause in legislation rather than using the generic marriage-broken-down-irretrievably clauses. Such “you must have your husband/partners consent” clauses were, rightly, removed from legislation a long time ago. GRCs are unique in having this reintroduced.

They have also made no move to restore marriages stolen under the old system.

On the plus side, it doesn’t look as if someone can annul their marriage just because their partner had a GRC from before they were married if they’re in Scotland. That’s something they have right historically, at least.

But it’s almost as if they just copied what Westminster did and were not paying attention.

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