A minister has quit the Scottish Government and SNP MSPs have defied the whip to vote against gender recognition legislation.
Ash Regan’s surprise resignation from the position of community safety minister was announced shortly before MSPs began debating the first stage of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.
A total of seven SNP MSPs broke with the whip to vote against the Bill: Stephanie Callaghan, Fergus Ewing, Kenneth Gibson, Ruth Maguire, John Mason, Michelle Thomson and Ms Regan.
Two SNP MSPs abstained, Annabelle Ewing and Jim Fairlie.
The Bill passed stage one in the Scottish parliament with 88 votes in favour, 33 against and four abstentions.
John Mason, the MSP for Glasgow Shettleston, voiced his long-standing opposition to the reforms in the Scottish Parliament and said he could not back the legislation.
During his contribution in Thursday, Mr Mason said he represented a “minority view” within the SNP and praised Ms Regan’s decision to resign.
He said: “We may disagree as to the best way forward on gender recognition, but I hope we can all respect each other for genuinely held beliefs as to what is best for all of our society and for the people who have questions about their gender.”
After referring to his Christian faith, he continued: “Certain things we need to accept as scientific or medical facts.
“The Earth goes round the Sun once a year, days are shorter in winter.
“These are facts, whether we like them or not, and we have to accept them.
“And as I understand it to be a fact there are two sexes, male and female.”
He said biological sex could not be changed, while he saw gender as a “much more fluid concept”.
The Bill would blur the distinction between men and women, he said.
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