A New Mexico city hall must remove a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments from its front lawn, a federal court has ruled.
US District Judge James Parker said Bloomfield officialsmust take down the stone by September 10.
He agreed that it violated the US constitution’s first amendment ban on government making any law “respecting an establishment of religion”.
The lawsuitwas broughtin 2012 by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two pagan residents.
Jane Felix andBuford Coone, who practise the modern pagan religionWicca, said the monumentis unconstitutional.
Ms Felix, who belongs to local group the Order of the Cauldron of the Sage, testified in court in March.
“In my opinion, it says that anybody who doesn’t agree with this monument on city grounds is an outsider,” she said.
“It has no place on city hall property.”
Private individuals erected and paid for the 3,000lb (1,360kg) monument in 2011 under a city resolution.
Bloomfield Mayor Scott Ecksteintold the Daily Times newspaper after Thursday’s ruling: “I am surprised and had never really considered the judge ruling against it because it’s a historical document just like the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.”
It is the latest legal challenge against religious displays on public land in the US.
Last week, a court ruled that a cross-shaped beam from the wreckage of the World Trade Center could remain on display in New York City’s 9/11 museum, rejecting a challenge by atheists.