After the Oklahoma Supreme Court last week ordered the state to remove a controversial Ten Commandments monument from the Oklahoma state capitol grounds, some legislators are looking for ways to keep the monument in place.
With the help of numerous Republican legislators, state Rep. John Paul Jordan (R) introduced a constitutional amendment for the legislature’s 2016 session that would remove the portion of the state constitution cited by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in its ruling against the Ten Commandments monument, Oklahoma City television station KOCO reported on Monday.
In its ruling, the court said the monument violated Article 2, Section 5 of the state constitution, which states, “No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such,” according to the Tulsa World.
In a statement about his constitutional amendment, Jordan said that the provision could be used to permit discrimination.
“After reviewing the Supreme Court’s 10 Commandments ruling, it is clear that we have a toxic provision in our state Constitution,” he said in a statement, according to KOCO. “It was written with discrimination in mind, and like a malignant tumor, needs to be removed completely.”
“It could possibly lead to the Native American artwork in the Capitol and State Supreme Court buildings being removed as much of it is religious in nature,” he continued. “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.”
Jordan is also pushing for the reversal of the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ruling.
“Ten Commandment monuments are commonplace in the United States and a widely understood historic basis for our system of law,” he said, according to KOCO. “It is important that we do not let the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision end this tradition in Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said on Tuesday that the Ten Commandments monument will remain at the state capitol while the state asks for the Oklahoma Supreme Court to rehear the case, according to the Tulsa World.
“Oklahoma is a state where we respect the rule of law, and we will not ignore the state courts or their decisions,” Fallin said. “However, we are also a state with three co-equal branches of government.”
“Additionally, our Legislature has signaled its support for pursuing changes to our state Constitution that will make it clear the Ten Commandments monument is legally permissible. If legislative efforts are successful, the people of Oklahoma will get to vote on this issue,” she continued, according to the Tulsa World.