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Government & Politics

Religious Holiday Displays Appearing at Ohio Statehouse

photo of nativity
JO INGLES
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
A small nativity scene is on display at the Ohio Statehouse.

A small nativity is on display at the Ohio Statehouse. The private group and lawmakers who want it there say it’s perfectly constitutional.

The nativity scene on the west side of the Statehouse is enclosed in a box the size of a doghouse. State Sen. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) says the creche, put up by the Thomas More Society, is constitutional. "It’s not state sanctioned."

Laura Battocletti with the board that oversees the Statehouse grounds says the group that put the nativity there went through the process and paid the $50 fee. And she says it's not the only religious symbol during this season. "The past couple of years, we have had a menorah."

The ACLU’s Gary Daniels says this is legally protected free speech but cautions other religious groups that follow the same process also have rights to put a display on Statehouse grounds. 

State senate president Larry Obhof (R-Medina) welcomes the display. "I think it’s important that we recognize the reason for the holiday, and I’m glad to see it."