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2010-03-16 - Administrative court of appeal of Lyon, n. 07LY02583

Public space · France · Religious symbol

War memorial - Christian cross on a funerary monument

Key facts of the case - The city council of Fontenelle decided to relocate a war memorial, formerly placed before a church, to another public place of the town. The local federation of the freethinking and an inhabitant lodged an appeal against this decision on the ground that it infringes the provisions of the December 9th, 1905 Act (art.28), which bans the display of religious signs and emblems on public monuments and spaces. The administrative court rejected the appeal.

Main reasoning of the court - Firstly, the administrative court of appeal judged that the 1905 Act distinguishes between the cemeteries and the funerary monuments. The later, including the war memorials, are not submitted to the banning of religious signs and emblems.
Secondly, the court deemed that even if the cross, by its height and the inscription it bears (God – Homeland), may be considered as a religious emblem, this fact does not affect the legality of the city council’s decision, which did not ordered the affixing of this emblem but the relocation of the monument.
Accordingly, the appeal of the applicants was rejected.

See the decision: Administrative court of appeal of Lyon, 2010-03-16, n. 07LY02583.