Gregg County Clerk Connie Wade, Longview, Texas, removed a collection of more than 20 crosses from her county office after getting a July 2 letter from FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert. A local resident alerted FFRF to the violation.
County Judge Bill Stoudt told the Longview News-Journal that the collection belonged to one of Wade’s employees. It was in full public view. “The employee voluntarily took the crosses down,” said Stoudt, noting he didn’t order them removed.
“If the crosses have been removed, we consider that a victory for state/church separation,” Markert said. She pointed to several cases in which federal courts upheld restrictions on displays of religious materials in workspaces, even including in some private cubicles or offices, since posting religious displays in areas the public can access could reasonably be seen as government endorsement of religion.
Wade has been in the news for refusing to issue a marriage license to Patrick Franklin and his 16-year partner Sailor Smith, citing the lack of a gender-neutral application form.
“Wrong side of history. Thanks,” Franklin told Wade after being turned down.