The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 4, 2014

Oklahoma House passes 'merry Christmas Bill'

From The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma House has approved legislation that authorizes public school students, teachers and other school staff members to greet each other with traditional phrases like merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and happy holidays.

The House voted 73-10 for the measure Monday and sent it to the Senate.

The bill says public schools can display scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations on school property providing they include more than one religion or one religion and at least one secular symbol.

Republican Rep. Bobby Cleveland of Norman authored the bill and says the legislation will protect Oklahoma schools from lawsuits over religious-based holiday displays.

Opponents say such displays are already allowed. A proposal to include Kwanzaa, a celebration that honors African heritage, was tabled.