BLOOMFIELD, N.M. (AP) — A group that erected a monument honoring the Ten Commandments six years ago on city-owned property in a small New Mexico city will remove the monument and put it on private property within 30 days.
Kevin Mauzy, the group’s founder, said it will be placed at a prominent location after the U.S. Supreme Court last week sided with a lower court order for the monument’s removal from the city hall lawn in the northwestern small city of Bloomfield.
The group called the Four Corners Historical Monument Project has several possible sites but has not selected one, Mauzy told the Daily Times of Farmington, New Mexico in a story published on Tuesday.
Civil liberties advocates have called the court decision a victory for the separation of church and state but Mauzy was disappointed with the outcome.
“It’s kind of sad when it seems like our history, facts and truth don’t seem to matter anymore,” he said.
The Supreme Court decision came after city attorneys for the city argued that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ignored previous rulings by the Supreme Court that simply being offended by such a monument did not give someone a legal basis to challenge the monument.
In other cases, a Ten Commandments poster in a Kentucky courthouse was found constitutional and a monument on the grounds of a public building in Arkansas was determined to be unconstitutional.
In Bloomfield, the concrete block that displays the Ten Commandments sits alongside other monuments related to the Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg Address and Bill of Rights.
The city claims it avoided endorsing a particular religion by placing disclaimers on the lawn stating the area was a public forum for citizens and that the privately funded monuments did not necessarily reflect the opinions of the city.
The Ten Commandments monument was erected in 2011 and challenged a year later by the ACLU. Lower courts concluded it violated the U.S. Constitution’s ban on government endorsing a religion.