FFRF says crosses at Gregg County Clerk's office unconstitutional

FFRF says crosses at Gregg County Clerk's office unconstitutional

A national watchdog group says it objects to crosses displayed at an East Texas county clerk's office.

According to the Freedom From Religious Foundation, it recently sent a letter to Connie Wade, a county clerk in Gregg County. The letter objects "to more than 20 crosses she has displayed publicly at the county clerk's office.

"The religious significance of the Latin cross is unambiguous and indisputable," FFRF Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert allegedly informed Wade, noting that federal courts "have held displays of Latin crosses on public property to be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion."

According to FFRF, there are several cases in which federal courts upheld restrictions on displays of religious materials in workspaces, even including in some private cubicles or offices, since posting religious displays in areas the public can access could reasonably be seen as government endorsement of religion.

In its statement FFRF says Wade has been in the news for refusing to issue marriage licenses to a Longview same-sex couple, citing the lack of a gender-neutral application.

Following the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, Wade, like many other Texas clerks, said they were in limbo because they use the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics form, which still read 'man' and 'woman.' When interviewed, shortly after the SCOTUS' decision, she said she had emailed the bureau.

MORE: Impact of SCOTUS same-sex marriage ruling on East Texas counties

FFRF says it wants Wade to take down her cross collection immediately. They called it an "obvious effort to proselytize on behalf of a particular religion."

FFRF is a national state/church watchdog with more than 22,500 members, including 1,000 in Texas.

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