|Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Donald Trump & Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau|
Donald Trump has signed the newly-updated trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The agreement, much to the chagrin of 38 House Republicans, includes aspirational language encouraging member states to adopt policies against LGBT discrimination in the workforce.
Trump signed the agreement in Buenos Aires alongside Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Section 23 of the USMCA contains a provision against sex discrimination in the workplace, calling on members in the deal to adopt policies against sex-based discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The section also calls for cooperation among the member states “in promotion of equality and elimination of employment discrimination” with regard to numerous characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
The inclusion of the LGBT language in the update to NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, is a win for Trudeau, whose government inserted the provisions. The language, however, is aspirational and won’t require a change in law for any member states.
Although the United States has federal laws barring discrimination on the basis of sex and courts are increasingly interpreting them to bar anti-LGBT discrimination, no explicit federal law is in place against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Trump signed the agreement with the LGBT provisions intact even though a group of 38 House Republicans led by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) urged him to seek removal of that language, insisting the agreement “is no place for the adoption of social policy.”
The USMCA must be ratified by Congress with implementing language for the agreement to take effect. It remains to be seen whether House Republicans will now vote against the agreement with the LGBT language, or if the USMCA has enough support for approval in the next Congress when Democrats will have a majority in the U.S. House.
According to Politico, the LGBT provisions were a Canadian priority championed by Trudeau.
Moments ago at the signing of the new USMCA deal, Trudeau tells Trump that GM closing plants in both countries is another reason why the president should remove steel and aluminum tariffs #USMCA #NAFTA #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/4V92HGzS8C
— Michel Boyer (@BoyerMichel) November 30, 2018