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UPDATED: Cross on L.A. County Seal Prompts Lawsuit by ACLU

A broad coalition of religious leaders are joining the ACLU to oppose adding an "iconic Christian symbol" to a government logo.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, opposing the board's adding a cross to the county seal.

"The cross is the iconic Christian symbol," declares the 19-page complaint filed by the ACLU on behalf of 9 plaintiffs, a broad coalition of local religious leaders and academics.

Last month, the board voted 3-2 in favor of adding the cross to an illustration of the San Gabriel Mission, positing that the cross accurately references history - not ideology.

The ACLU's lawsuit calls for an injunction prohibiting the board from adding the cross to the county seal.

The lawsuit also calls for a formal declaration that adding the seal "is unconstitutional under the federal and California Constitutions" as well as a violation of the First and Fourteenth amendments, according to the complaint.

Updated Thursday, February 6, 2014 | 5:41 p.m. PST: 

In response to the ACLU's lawsuit, Tony Bell, spokesperson for Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, said, "The Board action merely ensured that the county seal looks exactly like the San Gabriel mission looks."

Bell said it is important the seal reflects the mission, which is where Los Angeles County was founded. He added, "Other municipalities in California have missions that are accurately depicted. [...] What you have are the ACLU and their supporters that are trying to rewrite history."

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