Bill Protecting Religious Symbols On War Memorials Passed

Rep. Duncan Hunter Introduced Bill After Mount Soledad Ruling; Bill Passed By House Of Representatives

A bill by San Diego's Republican congressional delegation aimed at protecting religious symbols on war memorials was passed by the House of Representatives Tuesday.

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The War Memorial Protection Act, introduced by Reps. Brian Bilbray, Duncan D. Hunter and Darrell Issa, stemmed from a recent ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that declared the cross atop the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial unconstitutional.

"Last week's helicopter crash in Afghanistan, killing six Marines, is a somber reminder of the extraordinary danger facing our military men and women, even in the most routine missions," Hunter said. "These Marines, like all others who have served or made the ultimate sacrifice, are proudly represented by war memorials across the country and beyond our shores."

The bill amends existing law to permit such symbols.

"(Religious) symbols don't change the fact that war memorials stand for the purpose of honoring those who served and sacrificed in defense of the nation," Hunter said. "Any war memorial on federal property deserves protection, regardless of the religious symbol that's displayed."

Hunter was a Marine who fought in Iraq.

The bill requires Senate approval and the president's signature.

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