MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Attorney General Steve Marshall joined a coalition of 14 state attorney generals supporting the City of Pensacola, Florida’s right to keep a historic cross at a public park on display.
A news release from the Alabama AG’s office says Marshall filed an amicus brief Tuesday with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals supporting the City of Pensacola’s appeal of a June 19, 2017, lower federal court ruling ordering the city to remove a Latin cross from Bayview Park.
“The large cross in Pensacola’s Bayview Park is a local landmark dating back more than seven decades,” said Attorney General Marshall. “The cross is woven into the fabric of Pensacola’s history and its presence in a public park does not violate the First Amendment’s prohibition of the establishment of religion, as opponents have claimed. To continue down the road of the lower court’s reasoning would open the door to challenges of religious symbols on thousands of monuments and memorials on public property across the country.”
According to Marshall’s brief in the case Amanda Kondrat’yev v. City of Pensacola, Florida, he asserts that the lower federal court ruling against the display of the cross ignores legal precedent protecting the display of historical monuments, including religious symbols, on public property.
“States, counties, and municipalities have historically included, or allowed private parties to include, religious texts and symbols on monuments and other displays on public property. The amici States have an interest in maintaining that practice, consistent with a proper understanding of the Establishment Clause,” the brief stated.
Alabama was joined by Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah in filing the brief.