Gov. Fallin signs bill allowing display of Ten Commandments on public property
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 Mary Fallin signed a bill Friday that would allow for the display of the Ten Commandments along with historical documents on public property.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or any other political subdivision is authorized to display, in its public buildings and on its grounds, replicas of historical documents including, but not limited to, the Ten Commandments, Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, Bill of Rights,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.
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.