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In Show Of Unity, North American Leaders Push For LGBTQ Rights

Canada, the United States and Mexico are expected to pledge to do more to protect LGBTQ rights both in North America and abroad.

According to the Torstar News Service, senior Canadian sources (unable to speak on the record while negotiations are continuing) say the three countries are working to include a call for greater protection for LGBTQ rights in the three leaders’ joint statement.

The push comes after the deadliest mass shooting in American history, when a gunman murdered 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando earlier this month.

It also comes as Mexican President, Enrique Peno Nieto, moves forward with legislation to legalize same-sex marriage across his country.

Recognizing LGBTQ rights has been a “significant” conversation with the Mexican delegation, sources told Torstar.

Another source said the issue was discussed both officially, as well as on the margins of a state dinner thrown for Pena Nieto at Rideau Hall Tuesday night.

The Mexican delegation was not immediately available for comment.

Speaking on the International Day Against Homophobia in May, Pena Nieto said he wants to amend the constitution to allow-same sex marriage nation-wide.

Some jurisdictions in Mexico, including Mexico City, already have equal marriage rights.

The initiative has been opposed by Mexico’s Catholic church. Rev. Hugo Valdemar, a spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico City, told the Associated Press in May that legislators should listen to their “conscience.”

The Mexican president has also faced pressure on his four-day visit to Canada over his country’s human rights record.

Amnesty International has urged Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to raise human rights issues, particularly violence against women, in bilateral talks with Pena Nieto.

Trudeau is set to become the first Canadian prime minister to march in Toronto’s Pride parade this weekend.

Early in their mandate, his government made a few gestures towards Canada’s LGBTQ community, including raising the Pride flag on Parliament Hill, and they introduced legislation to extend human rights protections for transgender Canadians.

President Barack Obama has also earned praise from rights advocates. Over the course of his presidency, Obama oversaw the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on service by gays and lesbians in the military, appointed a number of LGBTQ judges and ambassadors, and extended hate crime laws, according to advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.

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