The bill, which would outlaw caste-based discrimination in the state of California, has been passed by a sizable margin in the Senate, despite the worries of many Indian Americans that it will specifically target Hindus.
The Senate voted 34-1 to pass “SB 403,” a bill introduced by Senator Aisha Wahab. If the measure succeeds, it will now be considered by the Democratic-controlled State Assembly before being forwarded to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. Newsom is unaware of the general consensus over the proposal.
If the law is passed, California will be the first state to protect caste.
Caste will now be included on the list of protected classes in California’s current civil rights law, alongside race and sex, if this proposal is approved.
At the time the bill was introduced, Senator Wahab told NBC News that “the more diverse California and the United States become, the more people we need to protect in the way the American dream was originally intended to.”. Our legal framework must be strengthened, broadened, and expanded.
State senator Aisha Wahab, the first Muslim and Afghan American elected to the state senate, first introduced the legislation in the California Senate on March 22.
However, there are those who disagree with the law. In opposition to SB 403, some Indian American organisations have stated that it discriminates against Hindus and Indians and that it is unnecessary for the United States to add protections against caste discrimination.
Wahab, however, argued that the legislation’s main goal is to protect people of all races, religions, and cultural backgrounds. The American Civil Liberties Union, MeToo International, and the California Labour Federation all support it.
The bill was also supported by a coalition of groups representing various castes and religions. The bill will now be considered by the California State Assembly.