California passes restriction on caste-based discrimination

California legislators on Tuesday voted to ban discrimination based upon caste, including defenses for individuals of South Asian descent who state they have actually been neglected of standard American safeguards for fairness in work and real estate.

The expense — the very first of its kind in the U.S. — now heads to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who should choose whether to sign it into law.

Caste is an ancient, complicated system that controls individuals’s social status based upon their birth. It’s mostly connected with India and Hinduism, however caste-based departments are likewise discovered in other faiths and nations.

State and federal laws currently prohibit discrimination based upon sex, race and faith. California’s civil liberties law goes even more by disallowing discrimination based upon things like medical conditions, hereditary details, sexual preference, migration status and origins.

Tuesday, the state Senate voted 31-5 to authorize an expense that would redefine “ancestry” to consist of “lineal descent, heritage, parentage, caste, or any inherited social status.” The expense was authored by state Sen. Aisha Wahab, the very first Muslim and Afghan-American lady chosen to the state Legislature.

“Caste discrimination will not be tolerated in California,” she stated.

India has actually prohibited caste discrimination considering that 1948, the year after it won self-reliance from Great Britain. In current years, South Asians have actually been promoting caste defenses on the U.S. Many significant U.S. institution of higher learnings have actually included caste to their non-discrimination policies, consisting of the University of California and California State University systems. In February, Seattle ended up being the very first U.S. city to prohibit discrimination based upon caste.

Now, California might end up being the very first state to do so. The expense quickly passed the Legislature, with just a couple of dissenting votes. But the proposition provoked an extreme reaction from the state’s South Asian neighborhood. A public hearing on the expense this summertime lasted hours as numerous individuals lined up around the Capitol to affirm for and versus the expense.

Opponents argued the expense is unjust since it just uses to individuals in a caste-based system. A letter to state legislators from the Hindu American Foundation previously this year stressed that South Asians might be “forced to answer intrusive questions about or be judged for who they are married to.”

“This bill targets Hindus and east Indians,” said state Sen. Shannon Grove, a Republican from Bakersfield who voted versus the expense on Tuesday.

California legislators remain in the last 2 weeks of the legal session. Lawmakers have up until Sept. 14 to act upon almost 1,000 costs. When legislators end up, Newsom will have a month to choose whether to sign those costs into law.


News and digital media editor, writer, and communications specialist. Passionate about social justice, equity, and wellness. Covering the news, viewing it differently.

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