Scotland appears likely to pass controversial gender reforms which would make it easier for transgender people to change their recorded gender.
The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill will remove the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to receive a gender recognition certificate (GRC).
It would also lower the minimum age for applicants to 16 and reduce the time required for an applicant to live in their acquired gender from two years to three months (or six for people aged 16 and 17) – though there will be a three-month reflection period.
MSPs will consider the last of the 153 amendments lodged at stage three of the bill after a marathon session of parliament yesterday, before a final vote this afternoon.
The sitting was disrupted by protests from the public gallery, with opponents of the bill shouting “shame on all of you” as an amendment that would make it harder for sex offenders to apply for a GRC was voted down.
The Scottish Tories also appeared to be trying to make the proceedings last as long as possible by tabling four amendments to the agenda, forcing a vote on the timetable for the consideration of amendments, raising a further motion for MSPs to vote on and several points of order – all before the debate on the amendments began.
The party also opted to push amendments to a vote – even when the proposer of the changes did not.
It has been one of the most controversial bills in Holyrood since devolution.
Opponents have raised concerns about its impact on the safety of women and girls, while the Scottish government has insisted it will not impact the Equality Act – which allows for trans people to be excluded from single-sex spaces such as changing rooms and shelters.
The likely passing of the bill – which has support within the SNP, Greens, Labour and Lib Dems – could raise further disciplinary issues within the SNP after seven MSPs from the ruling party voted against it and two others abstained at stage one.