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Religious Symbols Allowed on Public Property

But property must be available to other forms of expression, court says.

Key point: The display of a cross or other religious symbol on public property that is available to a wide variety of other forms of expression is constitutionally permissible.

• The United States Supreme Court ruled that the Ku Klux Klan had a constitutional right to erect a cross on public property surrounding a state capitol when the same property was used for a variety of other forms of speech and expression. Capitol Square is a 10-acre, state-owned plaza surrounding the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. For over a century the square has been used for public speeches, gatherings, and festivals advocating and celebrating a variety of causes, both secular and religious. State law makes the square available "for use by the public … for free discussion of public questions, or for activities of a broad public purpose." To use the square, a group must simply fill out an official ...

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Posted:
  • November 1, 1995

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