EDINBURGH, Scotland (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-woman’s group in Scotland has successfully challenged the government’s push to redefine the legal definition of ‘woman’ to include males who identify as females.
The Scottish government, led by liberal nationalist First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, attempted to broaden the definition of ‘woman’ by including so-called “transwomen” in the definition of woman in its Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act in 2018, prompting backlash from Scottish women’s rights campaign group For Women Scotland.
The act provided that anyone “living as a woman” and who at least is “proposing to [become] female” by an undefined “process” would fulfil the objective of the act, which is to attempt to have at least 50 percent of non-executive members on public boards represented by women.
For Women Scotland challenged the act last year in a judicial review, but failed.
In a February 18 ruling, however, the Court of Session determined that the government acted beyond its legislative competence in redefining the term ‘woman’ to include biological males for the purposes of increasing female representation on public boards.
The court added that the government may legislate to attempt to increase both women’s representation and those who identify as the opposite sex, but separately, given that both groups have special protections under the Equality Act 2010.
Following the decision, For Women Scotland published an article on its website celebrating the court success, saying that the ruling “confirms that sex is significant in law and that women’s concerns about the undermining of the protected characteristic [of sex] are valid.”
The judgement of the court, delivered by senior judge Lady Dorrian, stated that “provisions in favour of women,” such as intended by the Gender Representation Act, “by definition exclude those who are biologically male” since to redefine ‘woman’ to include the opposite sex “conflates and confuses two separate and distinct protected characteristics.”
Continuing, Dorrian stated that “‘transgender women’ is not a category for these purposes; it is not a protected characteristic and for the reasons given, the definition of ‘woman’ adopted in the Act impinges on the nature of protected characteristics which is a reserved matter.”
“Changing the definitions of protected characteristic, even for the purpose of achieving the gender recognition objective is not permitted, and in this respect the 2018 Act is outwith legislative competence.”
“For the above reasons the reclaiming motion succeeds,” she wrote.
Trina Budge, a director at For Women Scotland, expressed her delight at the decision while criticizing parliamentarians for allowing the legislation to stand in the first place.
“Not for the first time it has fallen to unfunded volunteers to challenge the power of the Scottish Government over faulty legislation,” Budge blasted. “We would much rather our MSPs [Members of the Scottish Parliament] did their duty and scrutinised Bills thoroughly instead of leaving the courts to untangle them later.”
“We are delighted that this has been corrected in law and that the judges have restated that the protected characteristic of sex refers to either a male or a female and that provisions in favour of women must, by definition, exclude those who are biologically male,” she said.