The Trump administration’s United States–Mexico-Canada (USMCA) free trade agreement, the successor to NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), hit a snag last week when a group of conservative lawmakers raised concerns that the deal promoted progressive LGBT policies.
Forty House Republicans sent a letter to President Donald Trump last Friday asking him to remove language from the agreement that included sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) as protected classes. Chapter 23 of USMCA, unveiled Sept. 30, has two SOGI references in clauses establishing nondiscrimination standards for workplaces. Republican lawmakers said SOGI language had never been included in a trade agreement and doing so circumvented the ability of the United States to set its own policies regarding discrimination.
The United States does not have federal SOGI policies, though a number of states have them on the books. Canada pushed for the inclusion of the SOGI language throughout negotiations with the U.S. trade representatives’ office, Canadian news outlet iPolitics reported.
“Traditionally, trade agreements have been about goods and services,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., who spearheaded the letter effort. “To even have a chapter or a paragraph on the definition of gender—especially where Congress has not led the way … is putting unelected bureaucrats in charge of policy in this country.”
Lamborn’s office told me lawmakers were not necessarily debating the merits of SOGI protections, but states and Congress should make those decisions. The letter from Lamborn and his House colleagues asked the Trump administration to renegotiate the nondiscrimination language before signing the agreement.
“It is insulting to our sovereignty to needlessly submit to social policies which the United States Congress had so far explicitly refused to accept,” the letter said.
Jenna Ellis with the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute said concerned lawmakers are “looking down the road of the precedent this would set.” She said judges could cite USMCA as persuasive in future cases, or lawmakers may use it to justify pushing federal SOGI laws. LGBT activists have used such laws to justify legal action against Christians—including wedding service providers, teachers, adoption and foster care workers, and others—who believe in the Biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, or who hold the view that sex is an unchangeable characteristic determined by biology.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: WORLD Magazine, Harvest Prude