Federal judge orders city to remove cross from Florida public park

(Source: WKRG)

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) – A federal judge has ordered that a cross that has stood in a Florida public park for nearly half a century must come down.

The Pensacola News Journal reports that U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson ruled Monday that the 34-foot cross in Bayview Park violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution and must be removed within 30 days.

The American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit in 2016 on behalf of four Escambia County residents who said the cross violated the separation of church and state.

Court documents show a civic group built the current cross in 1969. An earlier cross had been at the location since 1941.

Pensacola spokesman Vernon Stewart says the city has received a copy of the order, and officials were reviewing it with legal counsel.

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