New Act Surfaces to Protect Mt. Soledad Cross - NBC 7 San Diego

New Act Surfaces to Protect Mt. Soledad Cross

Debate of cross's constitutionality continues



    New Act Surfaces to Protect Mt. Soledad Cross
    Jose Gutierrez.
    Shot of the Mt. Soledad cross in La Jolla.

    In the latest pull of the ongoing tug-of-war for the Mt. Soledad cross’s fate, three San Diego-based congressmen introduced the War Memorial Protection Act on Wednesday, proposing that religious symbols be allowed on all military monuments.

    The act’s introduction, written by Rep. Duncan Hunter of Alpine and co-sponsored by Congressmen Brian Bilbray of Solana Beach and Darrell Issa of Vista, comes eight days after a key decision by the Ninth District’s U.S. Court of Appeals.

    On Jan. 4, it ruled the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial unconstitutional because it “primarily conveys a message of government endorsement of religion that violates the Establishment Clause.”

    The legislative fight for the 43-foot cross in La Jolla has gone back-and-forth since 1989, and a letter last week foretold that the Ninth District’s decision would not be the battle’s final round.

    Scripted Jan. 6, Bilbray and Hunter “strongly urge[d]” Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to “continue to vigorously defend the Memorial in its entirety.”

    Two thousand and seven hundred plaques are at the Memorial’s base, featuring photos and name engravings of war veterans. In 1952, the monument was originally dedicated as a Korean War Veterans Memorial, but, according to the letter, “has since evolved into a standing testament to all American war heroes and the unending commit of our military to defend freedom.”