Bemoaning 'Cancel Culture,' One State Lawmaker Aims to Make Political Affiliation a Protected Class

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore speaks on a measure before the Assembly, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Lawmakers are on a Friday Aug. 31 deadline to complete all legislative business. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore speaks on a measure before the Assembly, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Lawmakers are on a Friday Aug. 31 deadline to complete all legislative business. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) Associated Press

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

California state Sen. Melissa Melendez, a Republican, said the legislation is necessary to ensure free speech.

Citing a “climate of intolerance,” a California state lawmaker wants to fight “cancel culture” by making political affiliation a protected class.

The Diversity of Thought Act, introduced last week, would add political affiliation as a “protected characteristic” in California’s Fair Housing and Employment Act, similar to the anti-discrimination protections offered to people based on their race, religion, physical disabilities or gender identity. The legislation, packaged with a separate bill that would require schools to investigate bullying on the basis of political affiliation, is designed to “protect against cancel culture discrimination,” according to state Sen. Melissa Melendez, the measure’s sponsor.

“It is unfathomable to me that corporations and members of the public would ruin a person’s career, business and family because of their political ideology,” Melendez, a Republican from Lake Elsinore, said in a statement.  “A free society shouldn’t allow thoughts and ideas to be censored. Free speech covers all speech, not just that with which you agree.”

In an interview with Fox News, Melendez said the proposals aren’t designed to protect Republicans specifically, though her motivation for submitting them stemmed directly from what she described as the “harassment and targeting” of conservatives during the Trump administration.

“The last four years have really opened my eyes to what’s going on out there, and how people feel that it’s somehow OK to protect every other class in this country except political class,” she said. “It’s permeating every aspect of our lives, so I felt that putting political affiliation in California’s fair employment and housing act was appropriate.”

The legislation would seek to protect California residents from political discrimination during housing and employment searches as well as when applying for bank loans. But existing state laws—including California’s labor code, civil code and civil rights act—already address most of those scenarios.

State Rep. Lorena Gonzales, a Democrat and a member of the Assembly’s judiciary committee, panned the bill, saying on Twitter that “racist, pro-domestic terrorism, xenophobic, misogynistic views do not warrant protection ‘from discrimination.’”

“Your choice to hate and actively pursue hate does not make you part of a protected class,” she continued.

The bill is currently awaiting a hearing before the judiciary committee. Democrats control both chambers of the California state Legislature by wide margins.

Kate Elizabeth Queram is a staff correspondent for Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

NEXT STORY: Keeping Trees in the Ground Where They are Already Growing is an Effective Low-Tech Way to Slow Climate Change

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.