OKLAHOMA CITY, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- A monument listing the Ten Commandments was removed from the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol late Tuesday night in response to a state Supreme Court ruling.
After a contractor removed the sculpture at around 10:30 p.m, local time, it was outside the offices of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. This is a conservative policy group that will display the monument on private property just a few blocks south of the Capitol building.
The decision to move the monument comes after the Supreme Court's June 30 ruling that the display violated the state constitution and should be removed by Monday.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol said they chose to move the monument at night so as to minimize potentially difficult interactions with protesters. They said a few demonstrators did show up but kept their distance as the two and a half ton monument was loaded onto a flatbed truck.
Oklahoma's legislature approved a law in 2009 to display the monument. It was ultimately installed in 2012.
The decision to remove the monument follows years of conflict over its presence at the Oklahoma Capitol. Religious groups -- including a satanic cult seeking a seven-foot-tall statue of Satan as Baphomet and the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster -- have also demanded their monuments be on the Capitol grounds.
A local Baptist minister also sued the government after the monument's installation, saying it was unconstitutional. Prescott told local broadcaster KOCO he was "glad" the monument was now moved, adding that while he is not against the Ten Commandments, he thinks it "most appropriate" for them to be installed on private property.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court said the state's constitution -- in Article 2, Section 5 -- bans the use of public property "for the benefit of any religious purpose." Even though the Ten Commandments monument was paid for with private funding, the court said it is on public property and benefits or supports a system of religion and is therefore unconstitutional.