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California lawmakers vote to turn out to be first state to ban caste-based discrimination

By ADAM BEAM | Related Press

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

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

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

State and federal legal guidelines already ban discrimination based mostly on intercourse, race and faith. California’s civil rights regulation goes additional by outlawing discrimination based mostly on issues like medical circumstances, genetic info, 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 may 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 girl 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 yr after it gained independence from Nice Britain. In recent times, South Asians have been pushing for caste protections on the U.S. Many main U.S. faculties 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 based mostly on caste.

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