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Some in Colorado remembered the sacrifices of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. a bit early, on Election Day, rather than the national holiday to commemorate his life. The election of the nation's first African American president overshadowed another step forward in the struggle for equality — the defeat of Amendment 46 which would have rolled back decades of civil rights law.
The Vote No on Amendment 46 campaign isn't the only group pleased to see the anti-affirmative action measure lose, albeit on a teensy margin Thursday afternoon. Several people who launched complaints that they were misled into signing onto the proposal have also expressed happiness that the measure flopped.
After a two day post-election limbo, Colorado's Amendment 46 failed yesterday on a slim margin. The so-called Colorado Civil Rights Initiative is the first anti-affirmative action amendment propped by California businessman Ward Connerly to make it onto a state ballot and flop. The significance is not lost on Amendment 46's detractors. "I am thrilled," says Melissa Hart, a University of Colorado law professor who co-ran the Vote No on 46 campaign. "Given that everyone kept telling us we couldn't do it, it is exciting that we did."
Anti-affirmative-action guru Ward Connerly will likely halt his nationwide push to end race and gender preferences. Connerly, a part black California businessman, spoke with the Colorado Independent an hour after Amendment 46 toppled by an extremely thin margin. The so-called Colorado Civil Rights Initiative was the first Connerly amendment to flop after making it onto a state ballot. It was also a key measure in Connerly's Super Tuesday for Equal Rights campaign, a nationwide thrust to dismantle affirmative action programs in five states this year. In three of those states, the measure failed to make it onto the ballot, and Thursday, after a feverishly close tally, it collapsed in Colorado. Nebraska was the only state this year to approve the proposal.
The Colorado Civil Rights Initiative is still treading water, with the result too close to call. County clerks in Boulder and Adams Counties are still counting ballots which could tip Amendment 46 one way or another. Though anti-affirmative action initiative is trailing very slightly in the polls, opponents are reluctant to call a victory just yet.
Three Division One basketball coaches in Colorado publicly opposed Amendment 46 on Wednesday, saying that the so-called Colorado Civil Rights Initiative will diminish diversity at their institutions. University of Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik, Colorado State University coach Tim Miles and University of Northern Colorado coach Tad Boyle decried the measure, which will banish public affirmative action programs across the state.
Last week, Forbes published a love letter to Ward Connerly, the anti-affirmative action activist behind Colorado's Amendment 46. The so-called Colorado Civil Rights Initiative seeks to end discrimination and preferential treatment for minorities in public education, contracting and hiring and will effectively dismantle affirmative action programs across the state.
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