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Frederick Co. makes English official language

Wednesday - 2/22/2012, 11:54am  ET

FREDERICK, Md. - Frederick County officials have passed an ordinance making English the official language of county government.

The Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 for the measure Tuesday after a nearly three-hour meeting. It requires official actions of Frederick County to be taken only in English.

However, there are many exceptions. For example, other languages can be used to protect public health and public safety; to protect the rights of criminal defendants; and to promote trade and tourism.

Board President Blaine Young has said the ordinance would help deter illegal immigrants from settling in Frederick County. Opponents say it brands the county as unfriendly and xenophobic.

The county commissioners proclaimed English the county's official language in 2008. Proponents have said the ordinance will have more staying power.

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