THE Scottish Government has been urged to appeal the Court of Session ruling that the UK Government’s use of a Section 35 order to block Holyrood’s gender reforms is lawful.

On Friday, Lady Haldane published her judgment setting out her decision after a two-day hearing in Scotland’s highest court earlier this year.

She ruled that Alister Jack’s unprecedented decision to use a Section 35 order, a little-known part of the Scotland Act, from being given Royal Assent was within the powers of Westminster.

READ MORE: How to read the full Lady Haldane ruling on Scottish gender bill block

And now, LGBT+ charities and supporters of the reforms, which would have made it easier for transgender people in Scotland to legally change their gender, have called on the First Minister and his Government to continue fighting the court battle.

Elsewhere, opponents of the legislation have called on the Scottish Government to drop its case and not appeal it all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Gender Recognition Reform Bill was passed by two-thirds of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament in December 2022.

Vic Valentine, manager at Scottish Trans, part of the Equality Network, said: “The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill would significantly improve the process that trans men and women in Scotland use to update the sex recorded on their birth certificates, so that at important moments of their lives, such as registering to be married, they would be able to show a document that reflects who they truly are.

The National:

“The GRR Bill is important to trans people, and the court judgement is clear that it is not about the merits of the bill.

“Nor was the judgement about whether the UK Government made the right decision, or considered all the evidence, in blocking the bill. In our view they did not.

“The judgement is simply about whether the UK Government has the power under Section 35 of the Scotland Act, to block it, and the court has concluded that they do.”

Valentine said they were “really concerned” by the judgment, adding: “If left unchallenged, it means that trans people will continue to have to use the intrusive, unfair and expensive process for being legally recognised as who we truly are that a majority of MSPs voted to significantly improve last year - and so we urge the Scottish Government to appeal.”

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The gender reforms also form part of the Bute House Agreement between the SNP and Scottish Greens.

Maggie Chapman MSP, the Scottish Greens equality spokesperson, said the ruling was a “devastating day” for equality and a “democratic outrage”.

“It shows the huge limitations and constraints on devolution and confirms that the UK Government refuses to see our trans siblings for the people they really are,” she said.

“It is horrible, it is heartbreaking and it is unjust. It makes a mockery of any vote or decision that we as parliamentarians take at Holyrood from now on, if the result is knowing that Westminster will veto anything they don’t like.

The National: Maggie Chapman

“Self-ID is normal and is used in countries around the world. What our Parliament voted for was a small change that would have made a big difference to a vulnerable community. I hope the Scottish Government will consider all options for appeal.”

Chapman argued that with independence Scotland would be able to create a fairer and more equal country.

Ash Regan, who quit her role as an SNP minister over the legislation, and eventually voted against the bill, called on Humza Yousaf not to pursue any further court challenge.

Now Alba MSP and Holyrood leader for the party, Regan said in the wake of the ruling: “It was disappointing that we ended up in this situation in the first place but not unpredictable and I had previously warned the Scottish Government that they were attempting to face down Westminster on an issue that they would lose.

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“Many high profile incidents have now showed us that the gender recognition reforms proposed are not fit for purpose.”

She then pointed to the £230,000 spent on legal fees, arguing they had been “wasted” through pursuing the case.

Regan added: “The Scottish Government lost the battle in court and they will further lose the support of the people of Scotland if they keep pursuing this policy. I urge Humza Yousaf to now completely scrap his Government’s gender reforms.”

We told how Scottish Secretary Alister Jack issued a statement following the ruling, adding that the Scottish Government should "stop wasting taxpayers’ money pursuing needless legal action".