I still get ask at times by former Republican colleagues when I am going to return to the GOP. A case in point was earlier in the year at a friend's funeral when I encountered another former City Committee member who was always gracious to me. I politely said "no time soon" given the GOP's never ending homophobia and efforts to limit or take away my rights. In addition to supporting discredited "conversion therapy," Virginia Republicans killing every gay friendly bill in the last session of the General Assembly, 40 anti- gay Republican members of Congress are now threatening to vote against Trump's new NAFTA trade agreement if LGBT non-discrimination provisions are not removed. A copy of their letter to Trump is set out at the end of this post. Politico looks at the efforts of these bigots to in effect give Christofascists special rights to discriminate against others. Here are article highlights:
Protections in the new North American trade pact for LGBTQ people are roiling conservative lawmakers in the House, who are urging President Donald Trump to rescind them.
They are displeased that the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement contains requirements that workers be protected from discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
“A trade agreement is no place for the adoption of social policy,” reads the letter, which carries the names of 40 lawmakers and was sent Friday. “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.”
It’s one more landmine in the path of Trump’s biggest trade achievement. Already, labor groups have expressed some concern that mechanisms to enforce new worker protections aren’t sufficiently strong and hinted that the incoming Democratic House might seek changes.
Now the conservatives, including House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), are hoping to revise the deal before it gets signed.
"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," [GOP] Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) told POLITICO in an interview.
Adjusting the deal is a tall order.
The countries are expected to sign the agreement on Nov. 30 at a G-20 summit in Argentina, the day before the current Mexican administration leaves office. The easiest way for the administration to address the conservatives’ concerns is to persuade Canada and Mexico to change the language before the agreement is signed. If those countries balk and the administration is concerned about having enough Republican votes to win approval, it could attempt to negate the language through the implementing bill. But that would be highly unusual and give many Democrats another reason to vote against the legislation.
Tweaks can be made through so-called side letters. But this particular demand is certain to leave Canada especially cold.
The LGBT provisions were a Canadian priority — part of the so-called progressive trade agenda championed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and described as a “big win” by his government. And the Trudeau government already is less than enthusiastic about entering the agreement while steel tariffs remain in place.
But it’s unprecedented language in a U.S. trade agreement. . . . The conservatives say this would undo other administration policies.
The letter argues that USMCA contradicts other administration work on sexual orientation and gender identity, and would also make it impossible to end a pair of executive actions from the Obama administration forbidding workplace discrimination.
It accuses the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative of working against administration policies.
In reality, the federal government is somewhat divided about whether employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a question that turns on how judges interpret the word “sex” (one of the law’s protected classes, along with race, religion, and national origin).
[T]he Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which continues to retain a Democratic majority, still adheres to the Obama policy that the Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Federal appeals courts are split on the question, and the Supreme Court has never taken up the matter.