Conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives on Friday demanded that LGBT-friendly language be removed from the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) before it’s ratified by Congress.
The language became part of the trade agreement at the insistence of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who wanted the final treaty to include commitments to social policies on gender equality, labor rights, climate change and LGBT rights.
In a letter to President Donald Trump, the group of 40 representatives — which includes prominent conservative North Carolina Reps. Mark Meadows and Mark Walker — say the language in the trade agreement could have far-reaching implications on U.S. social policy, such as the potential for the Trump administration to define gender in purely biological terms. (RELATED: Canada Joins Free Trade Deal With US And Mexico)
“A trade agreement is no place for the adoption of social policy,” the correspondence reads. “It is especially inappropriate and insulting to our sovereignty to needlessly submit to social policies which the United States Congress has so far explicitly refused to accept.”
The language, which guarantees workers cannot be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, is considered an achievement by Trudeau, who has championed LGBT causes, marched in several Pride parades in major Canadian cities and created a special position within his Liberal government to liaise LGBT people. (RELATED: Trudeau Offers Apology, Tears And Money To LGBT Canadians)
“This is language that is going to cause a lot of people to reconsider their support of the trade agreement, and to the point that it may endanger the passage of the trade agreement unless something is done,” Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado told Politico in an interview.
The U.S., Canada and Mexico are slated to formally sign the trade agreement at the upcoming G-20 summit in Argentina on Nov. 30., then the document goes to the House and Senate for approval. If Trump agrees to excise the LGBT language from the text, he would need the concurrence of Canada and Mexico before the document is signed later this month.