The Scottish Government was wrong to reject controversial gender reforms, but Labor was right to support the Bill, said Anas Sarwar.
The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was passed by MPs in December before being blocked by the UK Government.
The legislation would make it easier for transgender people to obtain a gender identity certificate (GRC), but critics have warned it could affect the rights of women and girls.
Amendments tabled during the process that would have stopped those accused of sex offenses from receiving CRA, as well as protecting single-sex space exemptions, were rejected.
Speaking to the PA news agency on Saturday, Mr Sarwar insisted his party was still right to support the Bill, despite saying the government was wrong to block the amendments.
“I would hope that the SNP have learned over the last few weeks that they were wrong to reject the reforms around sex offenders, that they were wrong to reject the reforms around those on trial and that they were wrong to reject the amendments related to individual protection. sexual spaces in particular circumstances and I hope they can consider that,” he said.
But when asked if his party was right to vote in favor of the Bill without making the changes, he said: “I think we were right.
“We have made it clear that this is not the type of Bill we would have brought forward if we were in government, this is not an SNP Bill and not a Labor Bill – they are the government, they bring forward legislation.
“We had the right to get the reforms that we did, we had the right to get the protections that we did, I think we had the right to support ending the inhumanities of the CRA process, but there’s still work to be done.”
Labor MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy proposed an amendment at stage two of the Bill which inserted a provision stating that the legislation would have no effect on the Equality Act.
Asked what he thought the future of the Bill should be, Mr Sarwar said he wanted both the UK and Scottish governments to “put their heads together” and work in good faith to reach on resolution.
“At the moment it feels like everyone’s lost – I don’t think anyone in our trans community feels more protected since the GRR Bill was passed and I don’t think the women who had legitimate concerns have been reassured since it was passed the GRR Bill. GRR Bill,” he said.
“So, then, there’s a good faith approach, where we try to go forward to try to find a consensus and find a way through (necessary).
Mr Sarwar earlier suggested to journalists that the UK Government’s Section 35 order – which prevented the Bill from reaching Royal Assent – should be canceled while the differences between the two governments on the legislation are resolved.
The Scottish Government has until mid-April to challenge the order in court, with ministers repeatedly saying they planned to “vigorously” defend the legislation.