Sen. Marlon Kimpson introduces bill to remove Confederate flag from Citadel chapel

A Confederate naval jack hangs in the Summerall Chapel.

COLUMBIA — A Charleston senator filed a bill Tuesday to remove the Confederate battle flag from The Citadel’s Summerall Chapel.

The bill by Democrat Sen. Marlon Kimpson would amend the controversial South Carolina Heritage Act to allow for the removal of Civil War-era battle flags displayed in religious structures or chapels on the campus of an institution of higher learning.

The bill, if approved, would require a vote by the institution’s board of directors to move the flag. Currently a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly is needed — the same as was required to remove the rebel banner from Statehouse grounds last summer.

Kimpson said his bill reflects the desire of most of The Citadel’s board and school leadership.

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“The majority of the board voted to request the General Assembly to exempt the gift from the yacht club (the Confederate flag) from their Heritage Act,” Kimpson said. “The legislation is narrowly tailored to achieve what the president, board and community all want: to remove that symbol of division from a place of worship on a campus so that the school can move forward into the 21st Century.”

The legislation allows the flag to be moved to another location on the campus or to a museum.

The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee and likely won’t go far, even if it were to clear the Senate. House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Hartsville, reiterated in January that he will not take up any debate on changing historic monuments, road names, building names or other historic changes, like removing the flag in the Citadel’s chapel, as long as he’s speaker.