South Carolina senate passes bill to remove Confederate flag

South Carolina passes bill, majority voting in favour of removing Confederate flag from state capitol in Colombia

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The South Carolina senate passed a bill  on Monday calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from state grounds. 

The bill was initially proposed following an association of the flag with a gunman who killed nine people at Charleston church in June.

The bill will now be sent over to the House of Representatives where it must get two-thirds of votes before being directed to the state governor for approval.

The flag has become an insignia for racism and slavery for some, whilst for others symbolic of US heritage.

The flag first came into American life as a representative of the southern states in the American civil war when they tried to stay independent to avert from abolishing slavery.

The debate has stemmed again and found itself in US political discourse following a white gunman Dylann Roof, killing nine black people on June 17, was seen in a photo waving the Confederate flag.

The bipartisan bill would remove the flag from the state legislature, known as the South Carolina State House.

Following a sentimental deliberation in the senate, an overwhelming majority 37-3 voted in favour of bringing the flag down and removing it from the state legislature.

Numerous senators said they were inspired by Church members and relatives of the victims extending their forgiveness at the Dylann Roof’s trial.

"If they could be peacemakers in those dire circumstances... I determined I can be a peacemaker when it comes to a flag flying on our State House grounds," Republican Senator Chip Campsen said.

However Senator Lee Bright, another Republican, expressed his concern that southern history may be demolished.

"I do understand that what happened in Charleston got a lot of people's attention," he said. "But I believe we're placing the blame of what one deranged lunatic did on people that hold their southern heritage high and I don't think that's fair," Bright said.

The bill will be read once more in the South Carolina Senate on Tuesday before being sent off to the House of Representatives.

Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley urged lawmakers to vote in favour of removing the Confederate flag from state grounds considering the Charleston Church attack, otherwise she will use executive power granted to her to do so herself.

TRTWorld and agencies