To the Editor:
“In Nashville, a Ballot Measure That May Quiet All but English” (news article, Jan. 11) addresses a crucial community-defining issue in Nashville, but doesn’t capture the breadth and depth of the opposition to the English-only ballot initiative.
A broad coalition of business, labor, religious, civil liberties, civil rights and social services groups have joined together to oppose this divisive initiative. The coalition opposes English-only proposals not only on economic grounds, but also for moral, religious, social and legal reasons.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee opposes this initiative because linguistic restrictions on the delivery of government services violate the free speech protections of the First Amendment and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
The bond that unites Nashville is not linguistic or ethnic homogeneity, but a shared commitment to sustaining our welcoming and inclusive community.
Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee
Nashville, Jan. 11, 2009
This letter-to-the-editor appeared in The New York Times on January 16, 2009.