City expects ruling on Bayview Park cross soon

In light of today’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of crosses on public land, the Pensacola mayor’s office issued a statement that the court is expected to make a ruling its Kondrat’yev v. City of Pensacola case within five days.

In the written stated, Mayr Grover Robinson said, “The Bayview cross is a valuable part of Pensacola’s diverse history and culture. We welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Maryland Peace Cross, and we look forward to a similar ruling in our case.”

A wooden cross was first placed in Pensacola’s Bayview Park in 1941 by the Jaycees, a local community service group, as the U.S. prepared to enter World War II. The cross has been a popular gathering place for over 75 years and is one of over 170 displays in Pensacola’s parks commemorating the city’s history and culture.

In 2016, a group of citizens sued the city, claiming that the cross is “offensive” and establishes a government religion.

In Kondrat’yev v. City of Pensacola, a federal appeals court ruled that the cross must come down, but two of the three judges who decided the case said the result was “wrong” and called on the Supreme Court to fix its jurisprudence. Pensacola then appealed to the Supreme Court, which put the case on hold awaiting the outcome in the Maryland Peace Cross case.

“Religious symbols aren’t like graffiti that the government has to erase as soon as someone complains,” said Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, which is representing the city. “The Supreme Court has rightly ruled that governments can recognize the important role of religion in our history and culture.”