OKLAHOMA CITY – The Ten Commandments monument could be returning to our State Capitol.
A bill passed overwhelmingly that paves the way to make that happen.
It passed 86-10 on the House floor Wednesday.
The bill would create a statewide vote to amend our state constitution to take out the language that the Supreme Court said made it unconstitutional to display the Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds.
The monument was the center of controversy in 2015.
In June, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the monument had to be removed from the State Capitol.
Under the Oklahoma Constitution, the state is banned from using public money or property to benefit a religious purpose.
So, the monument was removed.
It’s now in front of the Council on Public Affairs building.
But, Wednesday, lawmakers debated the issue again on the House floor.
“The overwhelming support of the public would necessitate we give them the opportunity to address this,” said Rep. Jason Nelson.
Nelson voted ‘yes’ on a bill that would put it to a vote of the people in November to amend the Constitution in order to allow the Ten Commandments monument back on Capitol grounds.
“The Ten Commandments of course are an important body of law to our current law and the common law we all operate under every day without thinking about it. It’s just a symbol. It’s not a statement of religion,” Nelson said.
Representative Cory Williams voted ‘no’ on the bill.
“This legislature seems to want state resources to go to religion as long as it’s their religion.What they don’t understand is this is going to actually open up the entirety of the capitol grounds to all the different world religions,” Williams said.
You may remember, it was the ACLU that sued the state over the monument and won last year.
Opponents of the bill said this only opens up more lawsuits the attorney general will have to defend.
“If we really cared about religion and the message we’re trying to send out, we have more churches per capita in Oklahoma than anywhere else in the U.S. put the 10 commandments on the corner on each one of those churches,” Williams said.