July 19, 2005


ATLANTA--A federal judge today approved an order proposed jointly by Barrow County and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia requiring the removal of a Ten Commandments display from the county courthouse. ""Now all residents of Barrow County, regardless of their religious opinions, can feel welcome in their own courthouse,"" said Maggie Garrett, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Georgia. ""The government should never make citizens feel like outsiders in their own communities.""

The ACLU filed the case on behalf of a Georgia resident who wants his identity to remain anonymous because he fears for his safety. The man will remain ""John Doe"" under the court order released today.

""The fact that our plaintiff does not want to be identified for fear of reprisals demonstrates the divisions created in the community when the government takes sides on religious issues,"" said Frank Derrickson, an ACLU cooperating attorney.

The consent order was approved today by United States District Court Judge William O'Kelley, and forbids the county from posting similar religious displays on public property.

""Ultimately this is a win for religious freedom,"" said Garrett. ""Now all people in Barrow County can freely make decisions about their own religious beliefs.""

Today's order comes after the Supreme Court ruled last month that Ten Commandments displays in two Kentucky courthouses are unconstitutional.

For a copy of the order go to:  http://www.acluga.org/briefs/10.commandments.barrow/order.pdf

Stay Informed