LONDON — The U.K. government acted lawfully in moving to block Scotland’s plans to make it easier to legally change gender, a top Edinburgh court ruled Friday.
The Scottish and U.K. governments have been locked in a court battle over the reforms, which were comfortably passed by the Scottish parliament last year.
The Scottish government wanted to introduce a self-identification system to make it easier for people to change their legally recognized sex.
But the U.K. government stepped in to block the legislation, arguing it conflicted U.K.-wide equalities law.
It teed up a major fight between Holyrood and Westminster, and saw the governing SNP in Scotland deeply divided on how to proceed.
An initial appeal by the SNP-led Scottish government against the veto has now failed — after Edinburgh’s Court of Session ruled against their case Friday.
The losing side has 21 days to decide whether to further appeal by taking the case all the way up to the U.K.’s Supreme Court.
The verdict is a blow for Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf, who pledged his support for the reforms that were introduced by his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon.