A footnote has been added to a trade agreement being negotiated with Mexico and Canada. In the original agreement, America promised to create laws establishing a protected employment class for those confused about their gender or orientation. Now the footnote states that our current laws fulfill this promise. Keep reading for my legal analysis of this situation. – Mat
While this is a small victory, it is a deceptive one. The danger is far from over and perhaps is even greater. At best, the conflicting language between a section of the agreement and the footnote creates confusion. At worst, it could trick some to compromise on one of the most dangerous threats to religious freedom that I’ve seen this year.
This agreement is the first time a significant international trade deal inserted employment privileges and protections specifically for people confused about their gender and orientation. Section 23.9 promises that America “shall implement policies that it considers appropriate to protect workers” based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
The footnote says federal law towards federal employees already fulfills this “obligation.” However, this footnote does not fully protect the religious freedom of churches, religious daycares, family businesses, non-profit organizations, and employers to run their businesses in line with their deeply held faith and values, because the footnote does not apply to all the sections addressing additional privileges for these groups.
+ + + What Liberals Are Saying
Liberals claim that with the agreement granting privileges to these groups and the footnote saying current federal law sufficiently fulfills the “obligations,” that means these groups must already be protected under Title VII. Here are some excerpts:
GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders told NBC News “The administration is agreeing with the basic argument we’ve been making for years with increasing success in the courts…that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are both examples of discrimination ‘because of sex,’ which is forbidden by Title VII.”
Canada’s spokesperson says she sees even the footnote “as a win,” saying it “is the first international trade deal that recognizes gender identity and sexual orientation as grounds for discrimination.”
+ + + Not enough
The reason this agreement still infringes on religious freedom is also found in a second section of the agreement. It again advocates for the “elimination of employment discrimination in the areas of… sexual orientation, [and] gender identity.” Only this time, the footnote does not apply to the language found in the 23:12 section.
I strongly believe the footnote does not respect constitutionally protected religious freedoms for employers.
I need you to sign our petition letting Congress know that these provisions must be completely removed. There is a short time before legislators leave for Christmas break and they need to hear from you right now!
Thank you for caring about this critical battle!
Chairman, Liberty Counsel Action
P.S. Take a moment right now to add your name to our vital petition. We have a small window to have our voices heard to protect religious freedom in the workplace. If these provisions are ratified in the agreement it will unleash and strengthen numerous lawsuits against religious employers. Now is the time to add your name.