An English only ordinance in Frederick County, Maryland is facing an uncertain future after two of five new County Council members have called for its repeal.
The original ordinance, adopted in 2012, requires all official business in the county to be conducted in English, but it’s now seen as “intolerant” of many other cultures, and as such, it should be overturned, notes council member M.C. Keegan-Ayer.
“We have a new government and we’re going to set a different tone,” Keegan-Ayer said in comments reported by Opposing Views.
Fellow council member Jessica Fitzwater agreed.
“It’s becoming increasingly harder to attract businesses and employers to Frederick County when they have this perception that we’re not welcoming or we’re only welcoming if English is your first language,” she said.
According to CBS Baltimore, the “English only” repeal efforts are heading for an August 18 vote, but last Tuesday, the council members welcomed input from the public with some speaking out against the change.
“We need to speak English as a first language,” the site reports one woman saying, “and then what you do in your own home is your own business.”
Another attendee said “it should be English only,” and the group ProEnglish has gone on record claiming that repeal supporters are “liberal multiculturalists” and “politically correct bullies” in comments from fundraising letters sent to oppose the effort.
Other residents, however, agreed with the repeal efforts, claiming that it “sends the wrong message.”
“You might as well post a sign that says non-English speaking people are not welcome here,” said one.
“It makes us look intolerant, unwelcoming, and petty,” added commenter Barbara Gordon.
The report above from WJLA sheds a little more light on the roots of this English only ordinance, noting that at the time of the vote in 2012, Frederick County was in the process of rapid immigrant population growth.
As of 2010, the Hispanic community made up 14.4 percent of the population, while 5.8 percent were Asian-Americans. That increased significantly in the two years that followed, and it has caused some to call for a change of heart.
This isn’t the first time that the English only issue has come up as of late. An earlier report from the Inquisitr detailed the efforts of Billy Reed’s Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, a restaurant in Palm Springs, California that ruffled many with enforcement of its English-speaking only rule.
But what do you think, readers? Is it wrong for businesses and government bodies in America to have an English only rule? Sound off in the comments section.
[Frederick County Image via Wikipedia Commons]