NASHVILLE, Tenn. January 23, 2009 (AP)
Nashville voters rejected a proposal to make English the mandatory language for all government business, easing fears that the measure could damage the city's reputation and cost agencies millions in federal funding.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting early Friday morning, unofficial results showed the "English First" proposal losing with about 57 percent of voters against it and 43 percent in favor. Proponents said using one language would have united the city and saved money.
The city would have become the nation's largest to pass such a measure. Similar measures have passed elsewhere, though business leaders, academics, the city's mayor and Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen opposed the "English First" proposal, which the governor has previously called "mean-spirited."
"The results of this special election reaffirms Nashville's identity as a welcoming and friendly city, and our ability to come together as a community," Mayor Karl Dean said in a news release.