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Oklahoma voters to decide fate of Ten Commandments monument

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Oklahoma voters will face a ballot measure this year that could allow the state to display a monument to the Ten Commandments.

Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said late Monday she had signed proclamations placing additional questions on the November ballot.

{mosads}One of those measures, State Question 790, would eliminate language from the state constitution that bars public money from being “appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination or system of religion.”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that a monument to the Ten Commandments displayed on state capitol grounds violated that section of the constitution.

Christian conservatives, angered by that ruling, mounted an effort to remove the relevant section of the state constitution to allow the monument to stand. State Sen. Rob Standridge (R), the sponsor of legislation that led to the ballot question, said the Supreme Court’s ruling could extend to Christmas tree lightings on the capitol campus, and to state funding of hospitals with religious affiliations.

Oklahoma voters will also cast ballots on measures that would allow wine and full-strength beer to be sold in grocery stores, increase the state sales tax by 1 percentage point to fund teacher pay raises and reclassify some minor criminal offenses including drug possession as misdemeanors.

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