A new bill introduced in the California State Assembly seeks to root out police officers who have made public comments supporting religious or conservative views.
The Federalist reported that the bill purports to simply remove officers who have engaged in “hate speech” or are affiliated with a “hate group.” The way the bill is written, however, many officers would lose their jobs or be prohibited from serving merely for stating their religious or conservative beliefs.
The bill, deceptively called the California Law Enforcement Accountability Reform Act or CLEAR Act, was introduced by State Rep. Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and claims that it would stop “the infiltration of extremists in our law enforcement agencies” and mandate a background check for any officer who has “exchanged racist and homophobic messages.”
Kalra, The Federalist reported, insisted the bill was necessary to combat “the apparent cooperation, participation, and support of some law enforcement” in the January 6 Capitol riot in Washington, D.C.
But as The Federalist reported, the bill broadly defines hate speech as “as advocating or supporting the denial of constitutional rights of, the genocide of, or violence towards, any group of persons based upon race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.”
Pacific Justice Institute Senior Staff Attorney Matthew McReynolds wrote earlier this month in opposition of the bill, insisting that it would label Christians, Muslims, and conservatives as “hateful” due to certain beliefs.
“Under the guise of addressing police gangs, the bill at the same time launches an inexplicable, unwarranted, and unprecedented attack on peaceable, conscientious officers who happen to hold conservative political and religious views,” McReynolds wrote. “Indeed, this is one of the most undisguised and appalling attempts we have ever seen, in more than 20 years of monitoring such legislation, on the freedom of association and freedom to choose minority viewpoints.”
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The California GOP currently states in its platform that it believes in traditional marriage and does not believe that Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court case on same-sex marriage decided in 2015, can “coerce a church or religious institution into performing marriages that their faith does not recognize.”
According to this new Democratic bill, disagreeing on moral or religious grounds with homosexuality would technically mean the state GOP is espousing hate speech.
Greg Burt, Director of Capitol Engagement with the California Family Council told The Federalist that the bill would keep qualified people from serving based on political beliefs.
“Should the state now ban from public service qualified, fair-minded people who happen to hold religious or political views that conflict with controversial Supreme Court decisions on marriage and abortion?” Burt asked. “This is a blatantly unconstitutional violation of religious liberty and freedom of speech. It is also a tyrannical abuse of power from a politician seeking to ruin the lives of those he disagrees with.”