ACLU files suit against Oklahoma for 10 Commandments
OKLAHOMA CITY —
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma and the national ACLU have filed a suit challenging the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument outside the Oklahoma statehouse.
The lawsuit was filed in Oklahoma County District Court and seeks to have the religious monument removed.
"We know that it's going to be controversial and there's proponents of that monument that want to fight hard to keep it in the Capitol pedestal," Brady Henderson, the ACLU Oklahoma Legal Director said.
The ACLU cites the constitutional prohibition of using state property to support religions or sects.
"The monument's placement at the Capitol has created a more divisive and hostile state for many Oklahomans," said Ryan Kiesel, ACLU of Oklahoma's Executive Director. "When the government literally puts one faith on a pedestal, it sends a strong message to Oklahomans of other faiths that they are less than equal."
The lawsuit opened up a sounding board on the issue.
"I don't think it should be taken down. Its our right," Paula Bonilla said. "If they put it to a vote, most people would vote it in."
On our Fox 25 Facebook page, Grace Hughes posted "The Ten Commandments do not belong at the state capitol."
The lawsuit was filed against the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission, the agency charged with it's upkeep.
Commission Chair Trait Thompson had no comment.
The monument was installed in 2012 when State Representative Dr. Mike Ritze paid $10,000 to build the monument north side of the state capitol.
Dr. Ritze said legal counsel has advised him not to say anything about the current lawsuit while it is pending other than to point to comments he has previously made. In the past, Dr. Ritze has said the fact that the Ten Commandments are on the Supreme Court building is reason his monument can withstand a constitutional challenge.
He also said that the legislation that allowed the monument to be placed on capitol grounds was approved by the legislature and signed into law by the governor.