Los Angeles County votes to remove cross from its official emblem, bowing to ACLU's demand

The 2014 seal of the Los Angeles County showing the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel (right, centre) with a cross at the top.(County of Los Angeles)

The Los Angeles County in California will remove a Christian cross depicted on its official emblem following a court decision.

Voting 3-2 on Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors agreed to accept a court's decision last April that favoured the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California, which filed a lawsuit in 2014 to remove the cross from the seal, saying it promoted religion.

In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder decided that the "change and the associated expenditure of public funds places the county's power, prestige, and purse behind a single religion, Christianity, without making any such benefit available on an equal basis to those with secular objectives or alternative sectarian views," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Supervisors Michael Antonovich and Don Kanabe opposed the board's decision not to appeal the case.

Antonovich said the county would have prevailed if it appealed the case.

"Once again, the ACLU, who I refer to as the Atheist Criminal Liberties Union, was successful in bullying their way to rewrite history," he said. "This was a victory for the book burners."

He accused ACLU of "bullying their way to rewrite history," the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.

Antonovich said if the board appealed the decision, "the U.S. Supreme Court would have ruled in support of it as they have ruled in previous cases."

"The historical facts are reflective in our educational program—the building of the missions is part of the fourth-grade curriculum in the state's education code," he said.

He added that the history of Los Angeles County started with the founding of the San Gabriel Mission, which is depicted on the seal, which led to the founding of the Pueblo in Los Angeles and the beginning of the city of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles was the first city incorporated after the county was incorporated in 1850, he said.

The ACLU-Southern California was pleased with the board's decision.

"The ill-conceived and misguided effort to alter the county seal and favour Christianity over all other faiths has cost taxpayers at least $1 million. Today's action guarantees that the taxpayers will not be forced to suffer further," it said.