Gov. Nikki Haley and others have called for the flag to be taken down from Capitol grounds
A poll shows the majority of Americans see the flag more as a symbol of Southern pride than as a symbol of racism
A two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of the General Assembly is necessary to remove the Confederate flag
Will the Confederate flag be history in South Carolina?
After an impassioned discussion Monday, a bill that would remove the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds was approved by state lawmakers in a 37-3 Senate vote.
The bill – which is scheduled for a final Senate vote on Tuesday – needs a two-thirds majority vote to pass and move to the House for approval.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and others have called for the flag to be taken down in the wake of a deadly shooting at a predominately black church in Charleston.
“You always want to think that today is better than yesterday – that we’re growing as a state, we’re growing as a country. When something like this happens, you reflect, and you say: Have we changed enough?” the governor told NBC’s “Today” show over the weekend.
“I don’t think this is going to be easy. I don’t think that it’s going to be painless, but I do think that it will be respectful, and that it will move swiftly,” Haley said.
And as the debate got underway on Monday, about a dozen protesters gathered outside to voice their support or opposition to taking down the flag, with verbal confrontations between the two sides at times heating up.
Faith leaders also gathered in the rotunda of the State House, singing “Amazing Grace” and encouraging individuals to find unity through faith.
Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson also took to the legislature to sit in the House gallery and observe the flag debate.
’Attack on our values’
A two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of the General Assembly would be necessary for the measure reach Haley’s desk.
According to a survey of lawmakers by The Charleston Post and Courier, South Carolina’s legislature has enough votes to remove the Confederate flag from Capitol grounds.
But the proposal is not without opposition.
The State newspaper in Columbia reported that pro-Confederate flag robocalls urged voters last week to call their representatives and to tell them to “not stand with leftist fanatics who want to destroy the South we love.”