The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the divisive Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds violates the Oklahoma Constitution and "is enjoined and shall be removed."
"This decision ensures 'Thou shalt honor thy First Amendment' and the constitutional separation of state and church," said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
The strong unsigned opinion by the court, which interpreted state constitutional language, was joined by seven of nine justices: "The plain intent of Article 2, Section 5 is to ban State Government, its officials, and its subdivisions from using public money or property for the benefit of any religious purpose."
Defenders of the monument, which included the Oklahoma Attorney General and Liberty Institute, a Religious Right group, claimed the monument had historic significance. The court differed: "As concerns the 'historic purpose' justification, the Ten Commandments are obviously religious in nature and are an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths."
The opinion concluded, "Because the monument at issue operates for the use, benefit or support of a sect or system of religion, it violates Article 2 Section 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution and shall be removed."
The monument is notable for how divisive it has been since it was installed in 2012. In its short history, the monument had misspellings, was broken into pieces and replaced, and was the reason behind a Satanic Temple request to place its own monument nearby. In 2013, Oklahoma citizens brought the current legal challenge in state court with the ACLU of Oklahoma.
FFRF congratulations the ACLU of Oklahoma and its plaintiffs for its strong defense of America's secular principles.