Edited from a Press Release
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey led a bipartisan group of 28 states in fighting to protect a historic cross honoring World War I veterans as part of a case with much broader implications for the First Amendment.

The 28-state coalition urges the U.S. Supreme Court to consider and ultimately protect veterans memorials that include religious symbolism. The coalition’s friend of the court brief seeks to overturn a lower court’s ruling that one such memorial violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“We have a deep respect for the brave men and women who sacrificed all for our country,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Expressing our gratitude with memorials that include religious symbols in no way violates the U.S. Constitution and the freedom these courageous men and women fought to preserve.”

The case at hand involves a nearly century-old memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, started by community members and mothers whose sons died in World War I, and finished by the American Legion. The initial lawsuit seeks to force the state of Maryland to tear down the historic cross.

“We applaud Attorney General Morrisey for defending veterans and memorials that honor those who died serving their country,” said Miles Epling, State Adjutant of the American Legion of West Virginia. “The American Legion supports the preservation of all veterans memorials.”

 The Supreme Court’s ultimate decision could impact memorials across the nation, including those at Arlington National Cemetery and the West Virginia State Capitol.
“I fully support the Attorney General protecting veterans memorials,” said Kevin Light, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in West Virginia. “Those who served their country are America's heroes, and they should be recognized as such. It's a shame that some organizations and individuals do not recognize the sacrifice veterans have made.”

West Virginia signed the brief with attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia, as well as the governor of Kentucky.

View a copy of the brief at http://bit.ly/2LP4idB.