Voice support for the repeal of Frederick County’s English-only ordinance

Send a message to your county council representatives to support the repeal of the English Only Ordinance. You can contact them all at once via email at councilmembers@frederickcountymd.gov

Here’s why this makes sense:

  • The ordinance discriminates against and marginalizes English language learners. That’s right folks, people don’t arrive with linguistic fluency on day one. They are actively learning. It does not mean they don’t care to learn, but it can take a lot of time to get there. Having them participate in the community is a positive for all.
  • People who speak another language better than English are also taxpayers. 12.3% of Frederick County residents speak a language other than English inside the home.
  • There is no national language in America. Meyer v. Nebraska (1932) struck down an English only (education) provision. Relevant detail: The protection of the Constitution extends to all, to those who speak other languages, as well as to those born with English on the tongue.
  • It serves no purpose other than to make us look needlessly divisive, ignorant, and xenophobic. It was presented as a way to “send a message.” It does. It’s an embarrassing message to be sending.
  • The U.S. has no national language, yet functions despite this “impediment.” Couldn’t we get by with Frederick County following the lead on this?

    The ACLU, which is part of a group opposed to establishing a national official language, has published a paper detailing reasons that such a move should be opposed. It starts by mentioning an effort by John Adams, in 1780, to establish an official academy devoted to English, a move which was rejected at the time as undemocratic. The ACLU notes past efforts at English-only laws that abridged the rights of non-English speakers or which generally made life difficult for large non-English speaking populations. One example cited in Dade County, Florida, where, after a 1980 English-only law was passed, Spanish signs on public transportation were removed.

    The ACLU believes that English-only laws can violate the U.S. Constitution’s protection of due process (especially in courts where no translation service would be offered) and equal protection (for example, where English-only ballots would be used where bilingual ones were available in the past).


3 thoughts on “Voice support for the repeal of Frederick County’s English-only ordinance

  1. Communication is what makes us human–and what makes us good neighbors. Any attempt to curtail communication is an attempt to dehumanize. Thank goodness this awful law is on its way out!


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