Frederick, Maryland Repeals English-Only Law

A county in Maryland has repealed its controversial "English-only" law, by a vote of 4 to 3.

The decision by the Frederick, Maryland County Council followed about an hour of discussion by councilmembers.

One councilman had moved to table the vote and amend the law instead, but the council eventually voted to repeal.

The measure to repeal the bill "represents to me what is best about Frederick County, which is our willingness to welcome others, our willingness to be open, our willingness to embrace people who move here," said Councilwoman M.C. Keegan-Ayer, one of two women who had spearheaded the effort to repeal the bill. "And that includes people of other cultures other countries, even if they don't speak our language."

The law, passed in 2012, calls for all county business to be conducted only in English. Supporters of the English-only law said it saved the county money, because it meant that documents could be printed only in English.

But the law's opponents pointed out that local and federal law requires many documents to be available in many languages, so the law didn't really change anything. 

What the law did do, opponents said, was send recent immigrants a message that the county was inhospitable. Nearly all of the county's top employers supported repealing the law, according to a survey conducted by the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, as reported in the Frederick News-Post.

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