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ADL Opposes Colorado Amendments 46 and 48

  • August 26, 2008

Vote No
ADL urges Colorado voters to vote NO on Amendment 46 and 48, two proposed Constitutional Amendments that are scheduled to be on the ballot in November.

Amendment 46 (pdf), misleadingly entitled the “Colorado Civil Rights Initiative,” is an effort by a group of out-of-state activists led by Ward Connerly to amend Colorado’s Constitution to ban any form of affirmative action by the State of Colorado. If it passes, it would eliminate any public program that aims to increase opportunities for women or minorities in education, employment, or business. Even modest outreach programs to inform women or minorities about educational or contracting opportunities would be affected.

Amendment 46 is not about quotas, which are already banned by federal law. Amendment 46 is instead aimed at preventing programs that work to tear down barriers to opportunity for people who, because of their gender, race or ethnicity, have been underrepresented in education or contracting. Using deceptive language that parrots the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Ward Connerly’s proposals have already passed in California, Michigan and Washington. The chilling effect of those proposals there has led to a frightening drop in the number of applications to higher education from African Americans, Latinos and American Indians, and a concurrent decrease in minority students enrolled at state institutions. The number of women-owned and minority-owned businesses doing business with state contractors has also plummeted.

ADL’s national policy is to oppose numerical quotas, but to support outreach and other efforts help to undo ongoing effects of past discrimination and level the playing field. Amendment 46 goes too far in trying to convince voters to fix a problem – quota-based hiring and admissions – that does not exist. If it passes, we will see the end of many worthwhile programs that provide opportunity to underserved populations. ADL urges you to vote NO on Amendment 46.

Amendment 48 (pdf), known as the “personhood” amendment, would define a fertilized human egg as a person. It is an extreme measure that would criminalize all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest or when the life of a mother is at risk. But it also goes even farther, affecting stem cell research, birth control options, and even property and inheritance rights.

For decades, ADL has supported the right of every woman to make important life decisions like these without government intrusion. These are personal private decisions that should be made by individuals, their doctors, and their families – not extremists rewriting the state Constitution. ADL urges you to vote NO on Amendment 48.