Last week, some took note of posts on a conservative blog by former Rep. Rob Witwer, as well as incumbent Sen. Shawn Mitchell of Broomfield, both expressing hypothetical support for civil unions for same-sex couples. In Mitchell’s case it’s a particularly interesting turnabout, coming just a few weeks after he cast his vote against a bill to create civil unions–not necessarily a hit on Sen. Mitchell’s sincerity, but certainly worth noting as he does at length in his blog post.
Today, the Colorado Independent reports on the failure yesterday in the GOP-controlled House Education Committee of the ASSET bill, which would have allowed the children of illegal immigrants in Colorado high schools for at least three years to attend state colleges at in-state rates. A different issue, but can you spot the morning-after similarity?
The Republican committee killed the bill on a party-line 7-6 vote. Democrats had thought they might be able to sway one Republican vote. Despite Republican amendments and a room full of undocumented children concerned about their futures, Democrats were wrong. However, they did see some hope as one Republican who voted no Monday, said he could very well be a “yes” next time.
“It breaks my heart to have to do it, today,” Ramirez told the Colorado Independent about his “no” vote on the legislation. “But hopefully in the near future we will be able to make some changes.”
Those changes would come in two forms, he said. Ramirez first explained he would work with bill sponsors, Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, and Rep. Joe Miklosi, D-Denver, to bring the Colorado congressional delegation together on the need for federal immigration reform. Ramirez further said he planned to work over the summer to bring a bill similar to ASSET that would be more palatable to both Republicans and the voters…
There seems to be a trend emerging here, folks. As with Sen. Mitchell, let’s be clear that we don’t doubt Rep. Robert Ramirez’s sincerity, or that his “no” vote yesterday on the ASSET bill was a reluctant one. Like Sen. Mitchell on civil unions, if Rep. Ramirez emerges as a real partner with proponents of the ASSET bill to pass an equivalent next year, that’s great. But we’re not at all confident that Ramirez is going to be any more successful in moving the logjammed federal immigration reform situation forward than actual immigration advocates a lot higher up the food chain, and in Washington they’ll point out that the Colorado legislature just voted this down.
Likewise Mitchell could become an advocate for civil unions, or he might find any number of semantic quibbles to spend another legislative session, you know, quibbling with. In both the case of civil unions and reasonable immigration policy, we’ve repeatedly pointed to polls and statistics showing unstoppable generational and demographic shifts mandating change; and endangering politicians on any side who get in the way of it. And yet in this legislative session, when Republicans had a chance to share real political credit with actual votes, there lies a pile of dead bills–and vague, guilty promises to “do the right thing” some time in the future.
Are we being too hard on them? We know exactly how they can prove us wrong, and so do you.