November 10, 2010
Contact: Phil Kent
Phone: (404) 226-3549
ARLINGTON, VA – “Voters spoke decisively last week on an Oklahoma ballot measure to enact English as the official language of their state government, so it’s outrageous that a multilingual activist has frivolously filed a lawsuit in Tulsa County District Court to overturn the will of the people,” say ProEnglish Executive Director Jayne Cannava.
“Our organization urged Oklahomans to vote ‘yes’ on State Question 751 to enshrine English as the official language in the state constitution,” Cannava said. “Unfortunately the United States is one of the few countries in the world without an official language. So having official English in its state constitution is important to protect Oklahoma from being forced to provide costly and burdensome services in any of the 300-plus languages spoken in the country.”
“The lawsuit claims the statute is somehow an infringement on the right of free speech, which is ludicrous,” Cannava says. ‘This is not something new. This law, along with those in 30 other states, only applies to official state government activity and has no connection with any other communications between people and businesses.”
“The Oklahoma measure, originally introduced by state Rep. Randy Terrill and which overwhelmingly passed both houses of the state legislature, won by over 76 percent of the vote,” Cannava notes. “This landslide vote confirms national polls reflecting that a vast majority of Americans – Democrat, Republican and independent— reject costly and confusing multilingualism and support English as our nation’s official language. We welcome Oklahoma as the 31 state to pass such important legislation, and trust this absurd lawsuit will be thrown out.”