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Mt. Soledad cross standing on federal ground

San Diego's Mount Soledad cross now stands on federal, not city, owned land. President Bush signed legislation authorizing the transfer effective immediately. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The transfer takes the legal burden of defending the cross away from the city.
For 17 years, courts have consistently ruled the cross violates California's constitutional separation of church and state, and should be removed.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, who did not make it to Washington for the ceremony, expressed his gratitude to the President at the foot of the war memorial.

Sanders: "Today's action allows the federal government to take the lead in preserving the integrity of this memorial. I believe the president has substantially improved the changes that the desires of the vast majority of San Diego voters will finally be fulfilled."

Seventy-six percent of San Diego voters voted in favor of a previous voluntary transfer that was later ruled unconstitutional by a judge. This mandatory transfer now shifts the case firmly into the realm of federal rather than the state constitution. Alison St John, KPBS News.

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