While many groups, organizations, and even legislators ended up supporting the addition of caste as a protected category of discrimination in the California constitution, Governor Newsom vetoed the bill with this statement:
"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, color, 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."
And like a pendulum, the Hindu community is no longer under fire from this particular piece of legislation. But what happened? What made Governor Newsom change his mind?
Was it closed-door meetings with key donors or future supporters for his presidential bid? Was it the unrelenting barrage of emails and protestors at the capital? Was it the simple logic that this bill truly wasn't necessary and actually harmful in that it perpetuates discriminatory thinking.
In this webinar, we will bring together a cross-section of individuals and organizations who opposed SB403, and get their thoughts on what worked for the Hindu community.