South Carolina Senate: Take That Flag Down

State senate votes 37-3 to remove the Confederate battle flag
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2015 4:30 PM CDT
In this June 19, 2015 file photo, the Confederate flag flies near the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, SC.   (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt, File)

(Newser) – The South Carolina senate today voted overwhelmingly in favor of removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds, the Post & Courier reports. In the wake of a racially motivated massacre that left nine black church members dead in Charleston, the Republican-controlled Senate voted 37-3 to have the battle flag taken down. The flag "doesn’t represent all of the people of South Carolina,” says Republican Sen. Larry Martin. "It’s part of our past." The bipartisan bill will now move to the House of Representatives, where it may face "a tougher road" despite support from Gov. Nikki Haley, NBC News reports. Influential House Republicans, Speaker Jay Lucas included, haven't yet revealed their position on the flag. Highlights from today, per the Washington Post:

  • State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, a Democrat, read a constituent's email saying that "it's not about the Confederate flag. It's about the entitlement given to minorities." Sheheen responded that "there's a quiet bigotry that still exists, and if those of us who are white don't say anything … then we're part of the problem."
  • "When I see a Confederate soldier, I don't get goosebumps and feel all warm and fuzzy," says Sen. Darrell Jackson, a Democrat who is black. "I respect the fact that you do. All I'm saying is, you can't force all of us to have [that same] passion."
  • Martin says the flag went up over the capitol building in the 1960s for the 100th anniversary of the Civil War—but stayed up to defy the Civil Rights movement. "In my view, that's the reason the flag stayed up."
  • "I hate that it took a tragedy like [the Charleston massacre] for me to really, fully understand it," says Sen. George Campsen, a Republican whose district encompasses Charleston. "But I do fully understand it, and it is utterly amazing. It is one of the greatest testimonies of Christian faith that I have experienced in my life."
(Read more Confederate flag stories.)

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