Trump strips LGBT rights from USMCA trade deal with Mexico and Canada
The Trump administration has exempted the United States from provisions in the new USMCA trade deal with Mexico and Canada that require LGBT+ rights protections to be put in place.
The trilateral United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) deal was made public on November 30 as it was signed by Trump, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
However, Canada’s Global News notes that changes have been made to discrimination provisions from a previously-published draft, significantly watering down lines that refer to LGBT+ rights protections.
The US has no federal law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and Republican lawmakers had threatened to nuke the trilateral deal if it required such protections to be put in place.
The initial draft text included a commitment to enact “policies that protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of sex, including with regard to pregnancy, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, [and] gender identity.”
However, the final agreement instead includes a watered-down commitment for countries to implement “policies that it considers appropriate to protect workers against employment discrimination” based on the characteristics.
New USMCA deal exempts United States from LGBT+ protections
A new footnote explicitly clarifies that no changes would be required to law in the United States, addressing Republican fears that they would be compelled to pass LGBT+ civil rights protections.
It says: “The United States’ existing federal agency policies regarding the hiring of federal workers are sufficient to fulfil the obligations set forth in this Article.
“The Article thus requires no additional action on the part of the United States, including any amendments to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in order for the United States to be in compliance with the obligations set forth in this Article.”
The decision to change the deal was taken behind closed doors and the reason for the alteration was not made public, but it comes shortly after a letter from GOP lawmakers warning that the original text “would undermine the right of the United States “to decide when, whether and how to tackle issues of civil rights, protected classes and workplace rights.”
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