Bamboozled by Colorado Amendment 46 language? You’re not alone
October 7, 2008 —
If you’re like me, you read the “bluebook” description of Amendment 46 and missed the fact that the ballot measure signals an end to most forms of affirmative action and other valuable programs in Colorado.
My most recent blog skimmed over the issue thusly:
"Amendment 46: Prohibits Colorado governments from discriminating against people based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, or public contracting. Comments: I’m amazed that this one isn’t on the books already.”
Thanks to the commentary, private and public, of RealVail readers, I’m able to enhance that poor description of Amendment 46 in this updated blog.
First of all, please forgive me the error. It is not the first in my journalistic career, certainly, but this one was fairly flagrant — no mere typo or quick flip of the pen. I proported to be someone who had read the bluebook carefully and understood it, and yet I skimmed right over the true meaning of this ballot initiative. Those who have read me over the years know I take these errors seriously, and always do my best to correct them.
With that in mind, here goes:
The ballot language of Amendment 46 may be misleading to modern sensibilities. It is true that the Amendment will prohibit Colorado governments from discriminating against people based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, or public contracting, but the language doesn’t define “descrimination.”
More to the point, 46 will wipe out many of the programs which Coloradoans see as a fair way of giving a helping hand to those who still suffer from discrimination.
We have seen great progress in today’s society largely because of programs which take gender and race into consideration. Unfortunately the scales are still tipped against certain groups. Women, for example, still make less than men in similar positions.
Until we have undone the damage caused by discrimination in our state’s history, we must allow affirmative action and gender-biased programs to exist. The moment a measurable equality has been attained, a bill similar to this one will become appropriate.
Until then my vote will remain the same as Colorado senate president Peter Groff: NO on Amendment 46 (http://votenoamendment46.com).
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