Appeals court rules Pensacola’s Bayview Cross can stay, not unconstitutional

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled a historic World War II-era cross in Pensacola can stay.

In Kondrat’yev v. City of Pensacola, an atheist group sued the City of Pensacola to remove the monument, which has been standing for more since 1941, according to city officials.

In September 2018, a federal appeals court said that the city must take down the cross, upholding a lower court ruling that the cross was unconstitutional and needed to be removed.

However, Wednesday the same federal appeals court ruled that the cross is constitutional. The appeals court used the Supreme Court’s decision in American Legion v. American Humanist Association, which protected a World War I memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, as precedent.

The City of Pensacola says the “Bayview Cross is one of over 170 displays in Pensacola parks memorializing the City’s diverse history and culture.”

It has been a gathering place since World War II, serving as a place to spend Easter Sunday or Memorial Day.

“Pensacola is a city with a rich and diverse history. The Bayview Cross is an important part of that history as a symbol of our community’s coming together during a national crisis,” said Grover C. Robinson IV, mayor of Pensacola, in a media release.

“We are pleased by the court’s ruling in this case, and today we celebrate our long-awaited victory and the preservation of the Bayview Cross.”

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