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Progressive groups file suit against law requiring Ten Commandments in all Louisiana public classrooms

The legislation, signed into law last week by Louisiana's Republican Governor Jeff Landry, represents a historic development by becoming the first of its kind in the country.

The Ten Commandments(Hector Mata / AFP)

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This Monday, several progressive groups filed a joint lawsuit against the new Louisiana law that will require the display of the Ten Commandments in all public school classrooms in the state of Louisiana.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation took the case to the U.S. District Court, arguing that the regulation could alienate non-Christian students and violates the religious diversity and freedom of conscience of students and their families.

"It unconstitutionally pressures students to observe, revere and adopt the state's favored religious scriptures," the lawsuit states.

On the other hand, proponents of HB 71 assert that the Ten Commandments have fundamental historical and legal significance in U.S. history, as well as serving as the basis for the country's legal system.

The law

The legislation, known as HB 71, was signed by Louisiana's Republican governor, Jeff Landry, last week, marking a milestone by becoming the first of its kind in the country. This one requires the commandments to be displayed on sizable posters in both public elementary, middle and high school classrooms and state universities.

The law also authorizes, but does not require, the display of other historical documents in K-12 public schools, such as the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence and the Northwest Ordinance. It also states that institutions are not required to pay for these displays, instead allowing them to accept funds or donations to cover these costs.

With the lawsuit filed, the debate over the legislation, which would take effect beginning in 2025, will now move to the courts, where it will be decided whether the law violates the U.S. Constitution.