Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
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President Donald Trump has greatly improved trade with Mexico and Canada. One provision, however, should not be in the proposed trade agreement. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate must remove “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from Articles 23.9 and 23.1(5)(l)(i) in the new proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The new agreement, which will change its name from NAFTA to USMCA, must be ratified by each country’s legislature before it takes effect. USMCA is aimed at bringing more jobs into the United States, with Canada and Mexico accepting more restrictive commerce with the United States, their main export customer.

However, some drafter, in the Office of U.S. Trade Representative, perhaps under pressure from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, slipped in language in the labor provision. Articles 23.9 and 23.1(5)(l)(i) read: “Sex-Based Discrimination in the Workplace: The Parties recognize the goal of eliminating sex-based discrimination in employment and occupation, and support the goal of promoting equality of women in the workplace. Accordingly, each Party shall implement policies that protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of sex, including with regard to pregnancy, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, gender identity, and caregiving responsibilities, provide job-protected leave for birth or adoption of a child and care of family members, and protect against wage discrimination.” (emphasis added).

These sections would establish special rights for sexual orientation and gender identity as the supreme law of the land via the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. If Articles 23.9 and 23.1(5)(l)(i) are ratified, the treaty would elevate “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as special rights to the highest level and thus be used to determine the outcome of cases inconsistent with existing law and legal precedent. To include this language in the trade agreement would circumvent the proper legislative process for determining matters regarding the redefinition of “sex” to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in federal law and will provide direct conflict with many existing laws, precedent, and religious liberty and conscience rights.

Members of Congress wrote a letter to President Trump, urging him to remove this troubling language. The letter, in part, states: “At the same time your Administration is carrying out a cohesive agenda regarding policies surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity, in the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services specifically, it is deeply troubling that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has included contradictory language in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.” The letter goes on to state: “A trade agreement is no place for the adoption of social policy. It is especially inappropriate and insulting to our sovereignty to needlessly submit to social policies with the United States has so far explicitly refused to accept.” The Members of Congress “strongly” urges the President to remove Articles 23.9 and 23.1(5)(l)(i).

“President Donald Trump must insist that social policy that overrides our sovereignty be removed from the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Chairman of Liberty Counsel Action. “Articles 23.9 and 23.1(5)l(i) of the proposed trade agreement must be removed. These provisions are a Trojan horse that could be used like a wrecking ball against federal and state laws to advance an LGBT agenda on private employers. This LGBT social policy is a poison pill and must be reformed,” said Staver.

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