Melissa State Senator R-Lake Elsinore is aiming to “nullify the culture” with a bill that would make it illegal in California to deny someone a job or housing because of their political affiliation.
the Diversity of Thought Act, which would ban discrimination such as firing someone or denying them a mortgage because of their political affiliation, is one of two bills introduced by Melendez that seek to elevate political affiliation to a protected class under state constitution – as well as race, religion, disability and other status.
the other The bill would require schools to investigate bullying based on political affiliation.
Both cite what has come to be known as the “cancellation culture”: the practice of forcing someone out of a job because they’ve said something that offends others. Especially since the rise of social media, members of the public have risen in droves to criticize comments from celebrities and others whom they find racist or offensive, leading others to say they no longer want to do business. with this celebrity.
“It is inconceivable to me that companies and members of the public are ruining a person’s career, business and family because of their political ideology,” Melendez said in a written statement. “A free society should not allow thoughts and ideas to be censored. Freedom of speech covers all speech, not just what you agree with.
It’s unclear how “affiliation” would be interpreted if the bill passed – just registration of a party, any political expression or something in between.
Melendez did not have time for an interview on Wednesday February 17 or Thursday February 18, spokeswoman Ellia Rosado said. Rosada did not cite any examples of people losing their jobs or housing because of their political affiliation.
Although the ad appears to invoke prominent figures who lost their jobs after members of the public complained about racist or otherwise objectionable comments, it is not clear that the bills would fix it, Aaron said. H. Caplan, professor of law at Loyola Marymount. University of Los Angeles.
“If ‘political affiliation’ means ‘political ideology,’ which is probably his intention, then let’s say someone is posting something racist. Is it political ideology? asked Caplan. “If you post something from QAnon where you say Nancy Pelosi eats babies, is that political ideology or is it just a false statement of fact?”
If passed, the bill could be challenged on constitutional grounds, Caplan said.
“Does telling myself that I cannot discriminate against someone on the basis of their speech, does that limit my speech?” Said Caplan, noting that a similar argument gained the support of the United States Supreme Court when it ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding. “In the end, I don’t think (the challenge) would be successful, but lawmakers voting on this law might want to think, are there any legitimate reasons a store owner might want to exclude certain people. speech?”
The ideal of free speech should already protect people from being fired for a political statement, said John Berry, member of the Redlands Tea Party Patriots cabinet.
“The old liberals were like ‘I don’t agree with you, but I’ll die so you have a right to say it,’ they can’t be found anymore,” said Berry. “Canceling culture is real. It’s really just Marxism on the move. The Liberals have been preaching tolerance for decades, but now their true colors are out. “
A constitutional right to say something offensive does not and should not prevent others from refusing to associate with you because of what you have said, said Tisa Rodriguez, president of the Riverside County Democratic Party.
“It’s OK for you to have an opinion,” Rodriguez said. “We have the First Amendment. We also do not have the capacity to speak without being responsible for what we say.
It also demeans members of the protected classes who have long been discriminated against for things they cannot change – race, sexual orientation, age – to put political affiliation in the same category, a she declared.
“Especially now, during Black History Month, it’s frankly a little insulting to the senator’s voters,” she said. “If I go out, my neighbor sees that I am a black woman. There is no way to change that. Political affiliation can change during an electoral cycle.
While some other protected statuses are due to personal changes, such as religion or being a veteran, these are different from political affiliation, Caplan said.
At least they were before, replied Berry.
“Freedom of thought and intellectual freedom are the new struggles for civil rights, aren’t they? Said Berry. “So what racial equality was, free thought and intellectual freedom are now.”
As for the bill requiring districts to have policies against discrimination based on political affiliation, Rodriguez said it was unnecessary.
“This one is weirdly a little over-policing on the part of someone who tends to be on the individual rights side,” she said. “Schools have the intelligence to know how to investigate if someone is being attacked for their beliefs, or if it is something they need to resolve in some other way. Schools are now very self-sufficient, and I don’t see the need for additional legislation to address something that schools have managed. “
Melendez, however, said in a statement that his bill protects important principles that have come under attack.
“Canceling culture and efforts to silence divergent opinions and voices should be of growing concern to all of us,” Melendez said in a written statement. “A climate of intolerance took hold and stifled a healthy and normal debate. Anyone who values their own freedom of expression should be concerned. This cannot and should not be allowed to continue.