October 4, 2023

By ADAM BEAM | Related Press

SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers on Tuesday voted to outlaw discrimination primarily based on caste, including protections for individuals of South Asian descent who say they’ve been unnoticed of conventional American safeguards for equity in employment and housing.

The invoice — the primary of its form within the U.S. — now heads to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who should resolve whether or not to signal it into regulation.

Caste is an historical, advanced system that regulates individuals’s social standing primarily based on their delivery. It’s primarily related to India and Hinduism, however caste-based divisions are additionally present in different faiths and nations.

State and federal legal guidelines already ban discrimination primarily based on intercourse, race and faith. California’s civil rights regulation goes additional by outlawing discrimination primarily based on issues like medical circumstances, genetic data, sexual orientation, immigration standing and ancestry.

RELATED: A small world: How caste discrimination got here to California

Tuesday, the state Senate voted 31-5 to approve a invoice that might redefine “ancestry” to incorporate “lineal descent, heritage, parentage, caste, or any inherited social standing.” The invoice was authored by state Sen. Aisha Wahab, the primary Muslim and Afghan-American lady elected to the state Legislature.

“Caste discrimination is not going to be tolerated in California,” she mentioned.

India has banned caste discrimination since 1948, the 12 months after it received independence from Nice Britain. Lately, South Asians have been pushing for caste protections on the U.S. Many main U.S. schools and universities have added caste to their non-discrimination insurance policies, together with the College of California and California State College programs. In February, Seattle turned the primary U.S. metropolis to ban discrimination primarily based on caste.