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Comment: The Scottish Government must end the spousal veto and uphold the rights of trans people

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  1. Robert in S. Kensington 8 Nov 2013, 12:37pm

    If the spousal veto is removed, I would think this will be in conflict with the England & Wales bill. Interesting to see how this one pans out or not.

    1. Equality Network 8 Nov 2013, 1:03pm

      It would be different, but not in conflict, because this is a devolved area of law in Scotland. The rules in Scotland for gender recognition for married people are already somewhat different from England and Wales. Our proposed amendment to remove the spousal veto in Scotland does not require the Gender Recognition Panel to introduce any new procedures.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 8 Nov 2013, 1:33pm

        But in England & Wales, the Marriage Bill doesn’t allow the spousal veto to be removed. What if a couple in England or Wales in which one was transsexual wanted to marry in Scotland assuming the veto were removed and returned home? Would their marriage be valid or voided south of the border?

        1. Equality Network 8 Nov 2013, 2:45pm

          Similar cross-border questions arise with gender recognition with any other jurisdiction in which the rules are different, of which there are many. The UK Govt will choose the rule that applies when they make the consequential amendments to English law resulting from the Scottish Bill, in what is called the section 104 order. The simple solution would be that the continuing marriage would be recognised in England as would the gender recognition. Married couples won’t be able to visit Scotland from England and get gender recognition without spousal consent in Scotland, because the jurisdiction rules for the provision in the Scottish legislation would require domicile or habitual residence in Scotland.

          1. Robert in S. Kensington 8 Nov 2013, 5:35pm

            Thanks for clarifying that.

  2. It would be good if the amendments proposed by the Equality Network could be made so that trans people in Scotland will benefit too.

    Going slightly off the topic of this article, I understand (from stories in the Scotsman and Herald) that the committee also said they were concerned that the safeguards for individual celebrants to opt out of performing same sex marriage ceremonies were not strong enough and could be open to legal challenge.

    I really hope it doesn’t lead to further safe guards being putting into the bill as this could mean it taking even longer, or possibly even being postponed indefinitely.

    1. Equality Network 8 Nov 2013, 4:16pm

      Hi Bennie, the Scotsman article is highly misleading (or to put it another way, wrong). The Committee didn’t say that at all. What they did hear in evidence from lawyers was that if a religious body opted in to same-sex marriage, and the body decided in its own decision-making process, that it wanted all its celebrants to do same-sex marriages, then if one of its celebrants refused, the body could legally take internal disciplinary action against them. The Committee did not say that they had concerns about that, nor did they suggest any amendments along those lines.

      1. Thanks for clarifying that! I should know by now never to believe everything I read in newspapers! Although, I would have thought papers like the Scotsman and Herald could be a wee bit more trustworthy than the tabloids. I’m really glad to hear that the committee had no concerns about this at all.

        1. Equality Network 8 Nov 2013, 5:44pm

          The Herald article’s better I think. We’ve written a letter to the Scotsman about theirs – might be in tomorrow perhaps!

          1. Yes, I’ve just re-red the Herald’s article. It only says that anti- same sex marriage campaigners warned about the safeguards, not that the committee warned about them. It did quote a Scotland for Marriage spokesman as saying some MSPs were starting to come around to oppose same sex marriage. I don’t for a second think there will be any great number of MSPs opposed, but I’ll be interested to see if any who’ve already pledged to vote for it decide to vote against or abstain or are absent from the votes.

  3. I want to know what’s going to be done about the law in England. Whether there’s going to be a challenge against it.

  4. Jay Hayes-Light 3 Dec 2013, 1:49am

    The UK Intersex Association (of which I am the Director) tabled a report to HM Government during the GERBIL debate and more recently submitted an amendment to the same sex marriage bill debate. We shall also furnish the Scottish Government with an overview of how the legislation will impact on intersex people (which differs considerably in some areas from issues affecting gay & trans people).

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