COLUMBIA, SC – The South Carolina Senate has voted to remove the Confederate flag from a pole on Statehouse grounds. The 37-3 vote Monday allows the state to remove the flag and the flagpole where it flies as soon as it passes the House and is signed by Gov. Nikki Haley.
The bill must pass a two-thirds vote, which is likely to be held Tuesday.
Monday’s vote comes less than a week after the 15th anniversary of South Carolina taking the flag off the Capitol dome where it flew since the early 1960s and moving it to beside a monument honoring Confederate soldiers.
Lawmakers had largely ignored the flag until the killing of nine black people during a Bible study at a historic African-American church on June 17.
Rep. Wendell Gilliard and others are planning a rally for noon Monday at the Statehouse. Rep. Gilliard says any flag other than the American flag should be in museums. According to a recent CNN/ORC poll, most Americans agree.
Gilliard tells News 2, “We need to fly old glory – the United states Flag. This is what this country was built on. Unity and respect for all mankind and people need to understand that. This is the true flag the sovereign flag.”
Some people say that the Confederate flag should fly at the Statehouse.
“Let that flag fly. I know it offends a bunch of people, I’m sure it does. Sorry ’bout that. Like I said, this is heritage not hate. So I say it should stay flying, if you ask me,” says Thomas Lovingood.
Shaterica Neal disagrees. She says, “One thing can be said in the public, but my biggest worry is what is said behind closed doors and what is taught to children.”
Take back the flag SC has held many rallies over the flag in Columbia. They are partnering with the NAACP for a rally Monday afternoon.
A CNN/ORC poll asked more than 1,000 Americans: do you, yourself, see the Confederate flag more as a symbol of Southern pride or more as a symbol of racism?
57% of Americans see it as a symbol of Southern pride.
Several representatives joined hands Sunday to pray at the Greenville County Square. They asked for peace and clarity during this week’s debate. They joined the Upstate group “Put down the guns young people” to pray for all lawmakers.
Rep. Mike Burns says, “We don’t want to be another Ferguson or another Baltimore. As has been exemplified by our friends who have deceased ones with the shooting in Charleston. They have shown us what a wonderful Christian example should be.”
NASCAR fans proudly flew their Confederate flags at Daytona International Speedway for Sunday’s Coke Zero 400.
The racetrack offered a flag exchange program, giving each person who turned in a Confederate Flag an American one.
Jason Clark says he will not stop flying the Confederate Flag at Daytona after 25 years. “It’s just our heritage and our Southern way of life. And it makes us happy when we’re able to show something that represents us.”
Clark also said, “It means there’s no hatred. There’s no racism with that flag. There’s no discrimination of people.”
NASCAR’s chairman says he will go as far as he can to eliminate the presence of the Confederate Flag at all NASCAR tracks.
Governor Nikki Haley today issued the following statement:
“The South Carolina Senate today rose to this historic occasion, with a large majority of members from both parties coming together in the spirit of unity and healing that is binding our state back together and moving us forward in the right direction. I applaud the Senate’s decisive action, look forward to the Senate giving the bill third reading in the morning, and ask that the House act swiftly and follow the Senate’s lead.”
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press contributed to this article.