LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) A federal appeals court has rejected claims that using Christian crosses in city logos and buildings is unconstitutional. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver affirmed a lower court decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Las Cruces residents Paul Weinbaum and Martin Boyd against the city, and another claim by Weinbaum against Las Cruces Public Schools.
Las Cruces, Spanish for "The Crosses," routinely uses three crosses in its city and school district logos.
In a 43-page opinion released last Friday, the appellate court acknowledged that use of such symbols raises legitimate constitutional concerns. But justices found the use of crosses "is not a religious statement" and is based on the city's unique name and history.
A U.S. district judge in Las Cruces dismissed both lawsuits in 2006, ruling that "a city may make use of images that have a religious connotation as long as the primary or principal effect is not to endorse religion."