Ten Commandments marker can stay at Oklahoma Capitol: judge

By Kevin Murphy

By Kevin Murphy

(Reuters) - An Oklahoma judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit that sought the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from state Capitol grounds as an unconstitutional use of public property to endorse religion.

Oklahoma County District Court Judge Thomas Prince sided with the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission, which oversees monuments on the Capitol grounds in Oklahoma City.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma said it would appeal the decision.

"We aim to ensure (that) the freedom of future generations of Oklahomans to make their own decisions about faith remains intact and free from political interference," ACLU of Oklahoma executive director Ryan Kiesel said in a statement.

The state preservation commission in late 2013 put a halt to new monuments at the Capitol, pending the outcome of the ACLU lawsuit, after groups petitioned to have markers for Satan, a monkey god and a spaghetti monster erected near the Ten Commandments monument.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a statement that the ruling sent a clear message that the Ten Commandments could be displayed "because of the historical role the text has played in the founding of our nation."

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Bill Trott)