| OKLAHOMA CITY
OKLAHOMA CITY Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said
on Tuesday she will keep a Ten Commandments monument on Capitol
grounds to allow lawmakers time to find ways to block a state
Supreme Court decision ordering its removal.
"During this process, which will involve both legal appeals
and potential legislative and constitutional changes, the Ten
Commandments monument will remain on the Capitol grounds,"
Fallin, a Republican, wrote in a statement.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled last week the monument
violates a state constitutional section that bans the use of
state property for the benefit of a religion.
Lawmakers in the socially conservative state responded with
threats to seek the impeachment of the justices and calls for
legislation to alter the constitution to allow for its display.
The 6-foot-tall (1.8-meter) stone monument, paid for with
private money and supported by lawmakers, was installed in 2012,
prompting complaints that it violated the U.S. Constitution's
provisions against government establishment of religion, as well
as local laws.
"It is a privately funded tribute to historical events, not
a taxpayer funded endorsement of any religion, as some have
alleged," Fallin said.
After the Ten Commandments monument went up, other groups
including Satanists and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti
Monster, applied to erect their own monuments on Capitol grounds
to mark what they say are historical events.
The Satanic Temple criticized Fallin for ignoring the
state's top court.
"Governor Falling's statement is an open, flagrant
expression of her intent to bypass and re-write state law at her
convenience for the benefit of one ill-contrived petty act,"
said Douglas Mesner, a top group official.