Officials in a rural north Florida county must remove a granite monument of the Ten Commandments from the front of its courthouse because it violates the constitution, a federal judge has ruled.
Senior District Judge Maurice Paul sided with The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida in its lawsuit against Dixie County. He gave Dixie officials until Aug. 14 to remove the six-ton monument located in front of the courthouse in Cross City.
Paul's ruling Friday resulted from a 2007 lawsuit by the ACLU of Florida. The group argued that an official government display of a religious monument violates a clause in the First Amendment that prohibits the government from promoting religious messages. The county argued that a private citizen owns the monument.
"We hope that Dixie County officials will find a permanent place for it at a church or other house of worship, which is the appropriate place for religious monuments," said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU's Florida operation. "Removing the monument is the right thing to do."
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