OKLAHOMA CITY – In front of a transplanted Ten Commandments monument, Governor Mary Fallin said she will push the legislature and the voters to amend the state Constitution and move the six-foot-tall granite structure back to the Capitol.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Fallin again expressed her disappointment in the state’s supreme court for rejecting the state’s appeal to keep the monument.
She also said she will work with lawmakers to amend the constitution. An amendment would have to be approved by voters.
“We’re going to let the people of Oklahoma decide this issue,” she said. “I think it’s a benefit to Oklahomans to have something as guiding as the 10 commandments for our state.”
The monument was removed from the grounds of the Capitol late Monday night. Crews used circular saws to cut the monument free and called in a crane to haul it away.
The governor said crews worked at night for safety and convenience.
By Tuesday morning, the monument was sitting on the lawn of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, just ten blocks south on Lincoln Blvd. The OCPA describes itself as a public policy research organization that works “from a perspective of limited government, individual liberty and a free-market economy.”
The OCPA paid the moving expenses.
“It’s not a republican, democrat or independent issue,” Fallin said. “The 10 Commandments is a historical monument. We brought it to this location. We felt it was a good place to be able to display it properly so people could see it.”
The president of the OCPA emphasized the location would be temporary. Michael Carnuccio believes the people of Oklahoma will make changes to put the monument back.
But, the American Civil Liberties Union, which led the charge to remove the monument, said even if voters do approve a change, the group will likely file a federal lawsuit.
Legal Director Brady Henderson said the people fighting to keep the monument are failing to understand what the term “religious liberty” means.
“The real definition of religious liberty, of course, is what I believe about God and about the afterlife is between me and God, between me and my pastor, me and my priest, me and my imam, me and my rabbi,” he said. “The state doesn’t really have to say anything about it.”