California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has vetoed SB-403, California Caste Bill.
Governor Newsom rejected the bill on the grounds that discrimination based on caste was already prohibited under California law and the bill was therefore unnecessary.
Samir Kalra, Managing Director of the Hindu American Foundation said in a statement:
“This is a victory for the civil rights of all Californians. 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.”
It is reported that thousands of Hindu Americans and their supporters contacted the Governor’s office pointing out how the flawed SB-403 was premised on a baseless lawsuit and false claims about the Hindu religion.
“We thank political leaders of both parties, in all levels of government, who demonstrated moral courage in opposing this racist bill. Whether by passing local resolutions opposing discriminatory legislation, working with HAF to remove facially discriminatory language, outright voting against the bill or vetoing SB-403 — we will never forget that you defended the Hindu and South Asian communities at a critical moment in California history.”
Suhag Shukla, HAF Executive Director observed:
“We at HAF have always said that any discrimination on the basis of ‘caste’ violates not only Hindu teachings, but also existing state and federal law. The fight over SB-403 has always been about the best solution for any intra-community discrimination, not whether such protections are needed.”
“To all those who have suffered discrimination, we stand with you. We hope to move forward together, educating our community to live the values of our shared traditions that insist on equality based on teachings of oneness of all of existence. We hope to move forward without hatred or malice to bring together our community which SB-403 so unnecessarily divided.”
This bill was introduced by Senator Aisha Wahab, representative of the 10th district of California, with an aim to ban caste-based discrimination in the US and was passed by a margin of 31-5.
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