California Governor Gavin Newsom returns Hinduphobic bill SB403, dubs it unnecessary

Discrimination based on caste is already prohibited under law

Governor of California Gavin Newsom

On Saturday (7th October), Governor of California Gavin Newsom returned the discriminatory and Hindubphobic Bill ‘SB403’.

In his letter, the Governor said that California law already prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, colour, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation and other characteristics, deeming the bill unnecessary.

Senator Aisha Wahab tabled the bill, and it was titled “Discrimination on the basis of ancestry”. It was passed by the California State Assembly on 29th August this year with 50 Ayes and 3 Nos. However, the bill could not become law with the Governor’s veto.

The letter read, “To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am returning Senate Bill 403 without my signature.

This bill would define “ancestry” for purposes of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Unruh Act, and the Education Code to include “caste” and other dimensions of ancestry.

In California, we believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter who they are, where they come from, who they love, or where they live. That is why California already prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, colour, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other characteristics, and state law specifies that these civil rights protections shall be liberally construed. Because discrimination based on caste is already prohibited under these existing categories, this bill is unnecessary.”

A PDF of the veto message can be read here.

Hindu groups applaud the Governor’s decision to veto

Hindu groups that were fighting against the passage of bill SB403 applauded the Governor’s decision to use his veto and return it. Hindu American Foundation issued a statement in which the members thanked the Governor and called it a “victory of the civil rights of all Californians.”

In a statement, HAF’s Managing Director Samir Kalra said, “With the stroke of his pen, Governor Newsom has averted a civil rights and constitutional disaster that would have put a target on hundreds of thousands of Californians simply because of their ethnicity or their religious identity, as well as create a slippery slope of facially discriminatory laws. We thank Governor Newsom for listening to the thousands of voices that contacted his office and seeing that SB-403 was premised on racist rhetoric, a baseless lawsuit, egregious Civil Rights Department misconduct, false claims about the Hindu religion and South Asian community at large, and the self-serving, methodologically flawed, caste survey by Equality Labs.”

 

Dubious organisation Equality Labs, which supported the bill, expressed disappointment

Calling it heartbreaking, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Executive Director of Equality Labs, the dubious organisation that supported the bill, said, “While it is heartbreaking to receive the Governor’s veto, it is not a reflection of the incredible democratic power that our communities showed.”

The organisation also got support from the Islamic terrorist organisations-linked Indian American Muslim Council (IMAC). In a statement, IAMC said they were “shocked, disheartened, and deeply disappointed” over the Governor’s decision.

Soros-funded Sikh Coalition also expressed disappointment and said, “The Sikh Coalition was proud to sponsor this legislation because we know firsthand the pain and trauma that comes with being targeted by hate, and the Sikh faith explicitly condemns caste discrimination. Accordingly, we joined more than 45 Sikh organizations and gurdwaras in California, urging Gov. Newsom to sign this bill. While we are frustrated by this failure to take a meaningful step forward for the civil rights of all, we will continue to fight for legislation that protects all communities—including the Dalit community—from hate and discrimination.”

Anti-Hindu bill SB403

SB403 is a so-called anti-caste discrimination legislation that is making its way through the Californian state legislature. California Senator Aisha Wahab tabled the bill. The dubious organisation Equality Labs is one of the bill’s biggest supporters.

The bill was completely based on the Cisco caste case that fell flat in January 2023. Despite the main case on which Aisha Wahab and Equality Labs based the bill was no longer effective in the court, the California State Assembly moved forward and passed the bill.

Detailed reports on the Cisco Caste Case can be checked here and here.

Source : OpIndia

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