The California Legislature did not attempt to prevent property owners from selecting buyers or tenants on the basis of racial considerations until 1959. Then, by enacting the Hawkins Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act, the legislature chose to regulate racial discrimination in all business establishments including those involving the selling or renting of residential property and in all publicly assisted housing. Three years later, by enacting the Rumford Fair Housing Act, the legislature extended the regulation of discriminatory conduct to owners of most, but not all, residential property. Plaintiffs alleged that, contrary to the express provisions of the Unruh Act, defendants refused to rent available apartment units to them solely because plaintiffs were Negroes. Defendants' motion for judgment was made and granted on the ground that Proposition 14 nullified the Unruh Act. On appeal, the California Supreme Court reversed and held the adoption of Proposition 14 constituted significant state involvement in racial discrimination as prohibited by the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment. Mulkey v. Reitman, 50 Cal. Rep. 881,413 P.2d 825 (1966).
Validity of State Proposition Effectively Repealing Anti-Discrimination Laws,
42 Wash. L. Rev.
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