HomePoliticsCalifornia's Vetoed Bill Creates Hurdles in Banning Caste Discrimination in North America

California’s Vetoed Bill Creates Hurdles in Banning Caste Discrimination in North America

Factbox-California bill veto setback in fight against caste discrimination

In a setback for the movement against caste discrimination, California governor Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that aimed to explicitly ban caste discrimination in the state. Newsom stated that existing laws already prohibited ancestry discrimination, making the bill unnecessary.

Newsom’s veto comes as a blow to the increasing momentum in the fight against caste discrimination in North America. If the bill had been signed into law, California would have become the first U.S. state to explicitly ban caste discrimination.

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Caste discrimination is a significant issue for the South Asian diaspora, particularly the Indian and Hindu communities, as the caste system is one of the oldest forms of rigid social stratification in the world.

Recent Steps in North America to Combat Caste Discrimination

Here are some recent examples of policy measures taken across North America to address caste discrimination:


In February, Seattle became the first U.S. city to outlaw caste discrimination when its local council voted to include caste in the city’s anti-discrimination laws.

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In March, the school board in Toronto became the first in Canada to acknowledge the existence of caste discrimination in the city’s schools. They sought assistance from a provincial human rights body to develop a framework for addressing the issue.


In September, Fresno, California, became the second U.S. city to ban caste discrimination after a unanimous vote by the city council.

Educational Institutions

California State University became the first university system in the United States to include caste as a protected category in its anti-discrimination policy. Additionally, Brown University and Harvard University have both added caste protections to their non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.


A bill to ban caste discrimination in California was introduced by Democratic state Senator Aisha Wahab in March. The initial version of the bill passed the state Senate but underwent revisions. The revised version was approved by California’s state Assembly in August and by the state Senate in September before being vetoed by Governor Newsom.

Despite these efforts, the veto of the bill in California represents a significant setback in the fight against caste discrimination. However, activists and advocates remain determined to continue pushing for comprehensive protections against caste-based discrimination in North America and beyond.

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