SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a invoice Saturday that will have explicitly outlawed caste discrimination in California, dealing a blow to activists hoping to make the state the primary within the nation to enact such a ban and a first-term lawmaker who shepherded of the session by means of the Legislature.
The legislation would have inserted caste into the definition of ancestry, making it unlawful to discriminate on the idea of caste below the Unruh Civil Rights Act, Truthful Employment and Housing Act and schooling discrimination legislation.
Hearings on Senate Invoice 403 — from state Sen. Aisha Wahab (D-Hayward) — have been among the many most attended of the session, with traces stretching down hallways, public testimony lasting for hours and demonstrations outdoors the Capitol. The proposal cut up California’s massive South Asian group, drawing passionate lobbying for and in opposition to it. Assemblymember Ash Kalra, the primary Indian American elected to the state Legislature, lamented the fissure throughout a listening to.
In his , Newsom mentioned the invoice is pointless as a result of caste discrimination is already prohibited below current civil rights protections that “shall be liberally construed.”
“In California, we imagine everybody deserves to be handled with dignity and respect, irrespective of who they’re, the place they arrive from, who they love, or the place they dwell,” Newsom mentioned.
After the invoice handed, supporters launched a starvation strike to place strain on Newsom to signal it, holding rallies outdoors the Capitol.
Opponents contended that the laws will stigmatize Hindus and folks from South Asia, the place caste — a social hierarchy during which one’s group is inherited — is traditionally most carefully related. Representatives for the Hindu American Basis had beforehand promised to problem it in courtroom. The veto is a victory for nationwide Hindu teams such because the Hindu American Basis and the Coalition of Hindus of North America, which fiercely lobbied lawmakers to oppose the invoice.
A pair of Republican state senators, Brian Jones and Shannon Grove, wrote to Newsom on Tuesday asking him to veto the invoice. The senators claimed that the invoice would “not solely goal and racially profile South Asian Californians, however will put different California residents and companies in danger and jeopardize our state’s progressive edge.”
The invoice additionally obtained pushback from two of Wahab’s progressive colleagues within the Meeting, and was amended to make the phrase “caste” much less distinguished within the legislation.
Seattle was the primary metropolis to move a caste discrimination ordinance earlier this 12 months, and Fresno final month was the primary metropolis in California to take action.