New U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade pact promises to strengthen LGBTQ rights

New U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade pact promises to strengthen LGBTQ rights

Donald Trump’s new North American trade agreement could benefit an unexpected group: the LGBTQ community.

Buried in the mammoth agreement is a requirement that the U.S., Canada and Mexico take steps to protect workers against discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

The provision, if it survives in the final text of the deal, would be a victory for Canada, which wanted an entire chapter on gender equality as part of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “progressive” trade agenda.

Although the draft agreement struck last month fell short of that goal, “we succeeded at getting gender discrimination, more broadly, included in the deal,” a Canadian official said. “We viewed it as important to get gender identity included in the agreement, … It’s a win for us.”

The language goes beyond past trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated under Barack Obama. That pact raised concerns for members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus because it included both Bahrain and Malaysia, two countries with penal codes permitting the imprisonment and physical harm of LGBTQ people.

Both Canada and the U.S. agree the provision wouldn’t require a new law, but the Canadian official said its inclusion in the agreement could have real-world consequences.

The new trade commitment arrives at a time LGBTQ groups are warring with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, a Christian conservative, over what they […]

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