Scottish government withdraws amendment to exempt ‘criticism of transgender identity’ from hate crime law after backlash

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02/01/2021

The Scottish government has pulled an amendment that sought to exempt “criticism of transgender identity” from hate crime laws. The country’s justice minister Humza Yousaf announced via Twitter on Monday (1 February) that he had pulled a planned amendment to the proposed Hate Crime and Public Order bill, which seeks to modernise and consolidate hate crime laws in Scotland. Yousaf apologised “for any hurt caused” by the “freedom of expression” amendment put forward in his name last week, which sought to assert that “behaviour or material is not to be taken to be threatening or abusive solely on the basis that it involves or includes discussion or criticism of matters relating to transgender identity”. When PinkNews reported on the amendment last week, the justice minister claimed that critics had “misunderstood” it and insisted it would not create a “carte blanche” exemption to spout hate. Scottish government minister Humza Yousaf sorry ‘for any hurt caused’ However, Yousaf said on Monday that he would now work with other parties to bring forward a new amendment that applies to all protected characteristics equally, instead of proposed measures that singled out gender identity, separate from other provisions on religion and sexual conduct. The minister said other amendments from Labour and Conservative figures, which also sought to carve out exemptions for anti-transgender speech, would be withdrawn as well.

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