Monday, December 3, 2018

Did Donald Trump Just Pull A Fast One On LGBTQ Protections In USMCA?

Leaders of Mexico, United States and Canada sign new USMCA trade deal

Last Friday, while attending the G20 economic summit in Argentina, Donald Trump sat down alongside Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sign the newly-minted United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The trade deal is meant to serve as a replacement for NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).

At the time, anti-LGBTQ House Republicans wailed about a provision that calls on the three countries to support “policies that protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of sex, including with regard to pregnancy, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, gender identity.”

According to Politico, the LGBTQ provisions were a Canadian priority championed by Trudeau.

That sounds great for the gay community, right? Not so fast.

Forty-five House Republicans signed a letter to Trump urging him to have the language removed.

And now, Canada’s Global News is reporting the clause may be rendered useless in terms of LGBTQ Americans due to a foot note.

The Global News reports, "The final agreement has a change in language that various analyses suggest will water down its reach: The new wording calls on each country to implement policies each 'considers appropriate to protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of sex.'"

A footnote in the agreement reads:

The United States’ existing federal agency policies regarding the hiring of federal workers are sufficient to fulfill 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.

See that part? "Existing federal agency policies regarding the hiring of federal workers are sufficient to fulfill the obligations..."

So, no new LGBTQ protections for Americans.

Geoffrey Gertz of the Brookings Institute called the footnote "ridiculous" and "the kind of thing that will make progressives even more suspicious of engaging with trade liberalization."



It's not all a done deal, though. Lawmakers in all three countries will have to pass legislation that actually ratifies the agreement in order for it to take effect.



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