Gov. Fallin signs bill al­low­ing dis­play of Ten Com­mand­ments on public prop­erty

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - NEWS - BY BAR­BARA HOBE­ROCK Tulsa World bar­bara.hobe­rock@ tul­saworld.com

Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill Fri­day that would al­low for the dis­play of the Ten Com­mand­ments along with his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments on public prop­erty.

House Bill 2177 came af­ter a 2015 Ok­la­homa Supreme Court rul­ing that said a pri­vately funded Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment on the Capi­tol grounds was reli­gious and had to be re­moved.

The ACLU of Ok­la­homa brought the suc­cess­ful le­gal chal­lenge.

The fol­low­ing year, vot­ers re­jected State Ques­tion 790, which would have al­lowed the Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment to be dis­played at the Capi­tol.

The ques­tion, put on the bal­lot by law­mak­ers, would have re­moved the por­tion of the Ok­la­homa Con­sti­tu­tion that the Supreme Court used to order re­moval of the Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment from the Capi­tol grounds.

The bill Fallin signed ap­proves la­bel­ing the Ten Com­mand­ments a his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant doc­u­ment, which would al­low a mon­u­ment de­pict­ing the bib­li­cal text to be dis­played on public prop­erty.

The bill says: “Ev­ery county, mu­nic­i­pal­ity, city, town, school or any other po­lit­i­cal sub­di­vi­sion is au­tho­rized to dis­play, in its public build­ings and on its grounds, repli­cas of his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments in­clud­ing, but not lim­ited to, the Ten Com­mand­ments, Magna Carta, Mayflower Com­pact, Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence, United States Con­sti­tu­tion, Bill of Rights, Ok­la­homa Con­sti­tu­tion and other his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant doc­u­ments in the form of stat­ues, mon­u­ments, memo­ri­als, tablets or any other dis­play that re­spects the dig­nity and solem­nity of such doc­u­ments.”

Rep. John Ben­nett, R-Sal­li­saw, and Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Bro­ken Bow, are the au­thors of the mea­sure.

The bill re­quires the state at­tor­ney gen­eral to de­fend le­gal chal­lenges to such dis­plays.

[PHOTO BY DOUG HOKE, THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

This Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment was on the grounds of the Ok­la­homa Capi­tol in July, 2015. It was moved in Oc­to­ber, 2015, to the Ok­la­homa Coun­cil of Public Af­fairs, 1401 N Lincoln Blvd.

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