Senate passes bill addressing Mt. Soledad dispute - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Senate passes bill addressing Mt. Soledad dispute

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress has passed a bill that could resolve the decades-long church-and-state conflict involving San Diego's Mount Soledad veterans memorial and cross.

The bill the Senate passed Friday sets defense policy. It includes a provision from Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. that authorizes the Defense Department to sell the land containing the memorial and a 43-foot cross to the Mount Soledad Memorial Association.

The private association already maintains the site.

The House passed the bill last week, so now it goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Federal courts have ruled that the cross is an unconstitutional effort by the government to endorse a religion, and a judge has ordered the cross's removal.

Transferring the land to a private group aims to eliminate that conflict, but it's uncertain whether Hunter's legislation will end the litigation.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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