The Associated Press reports that the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted 65-7 on Thursday in favor of a statewide vote to determine whether to remove an article of the state constitution which prohibits the use of state funds to support religion.
Oklahoma voters will now have the opportunity in November to vote on whether the constitutional section prohibiting the use of state funds for religion should be removed. If the voters decide to abolish the constitutional mandate, it will pave the way for the Ten Commandments monument to be reinstated on the grounds of the Capitol.
“Since the Oklahoma Supreme Court's decision in June regarding the Ten Commandments monument, my constituents wanted to know what could be done," said Republican Rep. John Paul Jordan, an attorney who sponsored the bill in the House. "I knew it would be a difficult proposition to undo the ruling, so we looked at giving voters the opportunity to remove the basis for the ruling."
The monument was initially commissioned by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2009 and was privately funded.
Ever since it was erected on the grounds of the Capitol, it has engendered controversy.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represented Baptist minister Bruce Prescott who complained that the monument violated the separation of church and state.
Ryan Kiesel, the ACLU’s executive director, said that even if voters decide in favor of abolishing the section of the constitution and return the monument to the Capitol, a challenge against the vote would likely prevail under the federal Constitution.
Publication date: April 22, 2016