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Oklahoma Governor says monument will stay at capitol despite high court ruling

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Lawmakers are fighting to keep the Ten Commandments Monument outside the Oklahoma State Capitol.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the Ten Commandments Monument must be removed from the Capitol grounds.

The Court says that monument violated a part of the Oklahoma Constitution that prohibited the use of public property for religious purposes.

Now, a group of Oklahoma lawmakers have filed an amendment, which would remove that language from the Oklahoma Constitution.

“After reviewing the Supreme Court’s Ten Commandments ruling, it is clear that we have a toxic provision in our state Constitution,” said Rep. John Paul Jordan. “It was written with discrimination in mind, and like a malignant tumor, needs to be removed completely. I am under the opinion the court’s strict interpretation of the language of Article 2, Section V could have far reaching implications. It could possibly lead to the Native American artwork in the Capitol and State Supreme Court buildings being removed as much of it is religious in nature. In addition, it could lead to individuals on state funded insurance programs being unable to receive medical care as a large portion of hospitals in Oklahoma are supported by a religious affiliation.”

After the ruling, some lawmakers even called for the seven justices who voted against the monument to be impeached. 

“We need to restore the balance in our state government and not put up with this kind of judicial tyranny,” Rep. Calvey said.

“This would be a lengthy and expensive process that likely wouldn’t go anywhere because the justices didn’t do anything wrong. They followed the letter of the law,” Rep. Virgin said.

Gov. Mary Fallin says the monument will remain at the Capitol while appeals and constitutional changes are considered.

“Oklahoma is a state where we respect the rule of law, and we will not ignore the state courts or their decisions. However, we are also a state with three co-equal branches of government. At this time, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, with my support, has filed a petition requesting a rehearing of the Ten Commandments case. Additionally, our Legislature has signaled its support for pursuing changes to our state Constitution that will make it clear the Ten Commandments monument is legally permissible. If legislative efforts are successful, the people of Oklahoma will get to vote on the issue.”

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