A federal judge in California has ordered a 43-foot-tall cross at the site of a war memorial in the San Diego area to be removed because he says it violates separation of church and state.
The cross first went up in honor of Korean War veterans back in 1954. CNN reports lawsuits against the cross started almost 25 years ago when two Vietnam vets argued it violated California's constitution in 1989.
The New York Times notes the battle behind the cross on Mount Soledad has gone back and forth since then. In 2006, the federal government took over the land through eminent domain in an attempt to save it from being taken down.
Which brings us to Thursday's ruling. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the latest lawsuit regarding the cross — and local stations in San Diego have gotten reaction from local residents as well as the ACLU after the ruling. (Via WECT)
MILSTER: "I just think it's horrible. It's a tremendous memorial to veterans who gave their lives protecting us and protecting our freedom, and I think it should stay." (Via KGTV)
WERGELES: "We're firm believers in the constitution of the United States and for American values of separation of church and state. ... We are in full support of anyone's desire to express their religious belief in any way they want to. We should not be doing that under federal property." (Via XETV)
And an attorney who has fought for the cross to be taken down told U-T San Diego: "After 23 years, if you can’t come to a reasonable resolution, you’ve got a constitutional violation and you have to remedy it."
The judge ruled the cross has to be removed from the top of Mt. Soledad within 90 days, but the cross can stay if the ruling is successfully appealed in another court. (Via WLS-TV)
The president of the Mount Soledad Memorial Association told KGTV he plans to appeal the ruling.