A judge ordered Oklahoma to remove a Ten Commandments monument from state capitol grounds, but the governor is defying that order.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a 7-2 ruling last week saying the monument violates the state constitution. But Governor Mary Fallin said the state attorney general has asked the court to “reconsider,” Tulsa World reports.
The court found the monument violates a clause in the state’s constitution that prohibits the use of public property for religious use, local KFOR reports.
“Oklahoma is a state where we respect the rule of law, and we will not ignore the state courts or their decisions,” Fallin told Tulsa World. But, “we are also a state with three co-equal branches of government.”
Lawmakers plan on an amendment removing the portion of the state constitution cited by the court.
“After reviewing the Supreme Court’s Ten Commandments ruling, it is clear that we have a toxic provision in our state Constitution,” state Rep. John Paul Jordan (R-Yukon) told KFOR. “It was written with discrimination in mind, and like a malignant tumor, needs to be removed completely.”
Jordan said he feared the constitutional language could be used in the future to remove religious Native American artwork at the Capitol and State Supreme Court being removed.
“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,” he said, according to local KOCO. “Taken to an extreme it could even lead to churches, synagogues, mosques and other buildings used for religious purposes being unable to receive police and fire protection as they would be directly or indirectly benefiting from public monies.”
State Rep. Kevin Calvey (R-Oklahoma City) called the decision “judicial tyranny,” KFOR reports.
The Ten Commandments will stay put while appeals and constitutional changes are underway, KFOR reports.
Watch the report below from Tulsa World: