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Ohio Statehouse grounds cleared for Holocaust memorial
Project is approved over protests about religion and politics
Story by ANDY CHOW

RENDERING:The board that oversees the Statehouse and its grounds voted to approve the Holocaust Memorial today.
Courtesy of Capitol Square board
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A Statehouse Board gave final approval for a hotly contested Holocaust Memorial today. The two-year process now has one state official resigning and another group considering legal action. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports.

LISTEN: Holocaust approved for Ohio Statehouse grounds

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The debate over constitutional concerns and the independence of the Capitol Square board did not stop it from giving final approval to a Holocaust Memorial on the Statehouse grounds.

The design includes two 18-foot structures featuring the Star of David.

Joe Sommer, the Ohio board member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, testified against the plans.

“We’re concerned that the prominent display of the Star of David — which is a sacred symbol of the Jewish religion —constitutes an endorsement of a specific religion and therefore would violate the First Amendment.”

But Joyce Garver Keller, executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities, says the star does not promote any certain religion.“We never intended this to be a memorial to Jews or about the Jews.”

Former Republican Senate President Richard Finan cast the only “no” vote against the memorial. He also turned in his resignation, saying the Capitol Square Board is slowly losing its independence. And Finan says Gov. John Kasich’s involvement in pushing the memorial is an example of that.

The artist hopes to complete the memorial by April of next year.

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