Friday, May 08, 2009

Oklahoma Legislature Authorizes 10 Commandments At Capitol

AP reported yesterday that the Oklahoma House of Representatives, by a vote of 83-2, has passed HB 1330, the Ten Commandments Monument Display Act [full text, Word doc]. The bill, previously passed by the Senate, now goes to Gov. Brad Henry for his signature. It provides in part:
The State Capitol Preservation Commission ... is hereby authorized to ... arrange for the placement on the State Capitol grounds of a suitable monument displaying the Ten Commandments. The ... monument shall use the same words used on the monument at issue in Van Orden v. Perry, that the United States Supreme Court ruled constitutional. This monument shall be designed, constructed, and placed on the Capitol grounds by private entities at no expense to the State of Oklahoma....

In the event that the legality or constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument is challenged in a court of law, the Oklahoma Attorney General or Liberty Legal Institute is hereby authorized to prepare and present a legal defense of the monument.

The placement of this monument shall not be construed to mean that the State of Oklahoma favors any particular religion or denomination thereof over others, but rather will be placed on the Capitol grounds where there are numerous other monuments.
The family of Rep. Mike Ritze, sponsor of the bill, will pay the $10,000 cost of the monument.