California Republican State Sen. Melissa Melendez, amid liberal backlash, argued that her legislative proposals against “cancel culture” aren’t about “protecting Republicans” but about defending the right to be one.
“The last four years have really opened my eyes to what’s going on out there, and how people feel that it’s somehow okay to protect every other class in this country except political class,” Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, tells Fox News in an interview.
“With President Trump being elected we’ve seen members of Congress advocating for members of the Trump administration to be harassed and targeted. 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,” she continues.
But, “The bill isn’t about protecting Republicans,” she says. “It’s Republicans today, it could be Democrats tomorrow… it’s a bill about fairness.”
Melendez — a U.S. Navy veteran, small business owner, and mother of five children — said her “Diversity of Thought Act” would protect people from discrimination over politics when seeking housing, bank loans, or employment by amending the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The Act bars discrimination against race, religion, sexual orientation and other factors. California employment law already prohibits workplace retaliation for political activity.
Her second bill would help protect students from bullying over their political views.
“Cancel culture and the efforts to silence differing opinions and voices should be a growing concern for all of us,” Melendez said in announcing the legislation.
But at least one state Democrat has already fired back, accusing the Republican of trying to protect “racist, pro-domestic terrorism, xenophobic, misogynistic views.”
“Your choice to hate & actively pursue hate does not make you part of a protected class,” state assembly member Lorena Gonzalez wrote on Twitter.
“That’s really curious to me considering the Democratic Party is all about inclusion all about fairness, all about nondiscrimination, here we have a bill that advocates that very principle they’re coming out against it,” Melendez replies.
Melendez notes that “we’ve all seen stories in the news” about an employee getting dropped by their employer for political comments they’ve made on social media. “What we don’t know is, what about the average person who experiences this, who doesn’t know where to turn our how to even deal with it?”
Melendez admits she doesn’t anticipate it being easy to get this bill passed, adding that the Rules Committee could quash it. She says Democrats “need to look past the fact that I’m a Republican, look past the fact that right now it’s Republicans who are being targeted, and look into the future where they might find themselves in my shoes one day or in the shoes of those who are being discriminated against.”