LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP/WTVQ) – Lexington’s governing body has taken a first step toward removing two Confederate statues from the lawn of a former courthouse.
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council gave initial approval on a voice vote Tuesday to move the statues of Confederate officers John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge to an undetermined location. The proposal still needs further council action.
The vote came after three people died related to violent protests at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Council members heard more than an hour of public comment on the proposal, with most of it supporting relocation of the statues.
The city would still have to ask a state military heritage commission for permission to move the statues. The leader of a white nationalist group said it is planning an event in Lexington soon.
Meantime, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says he “absolutely” disagrees with removing Confederate symbols and monuments from government property, calling it the “sanitization of history.”
Bevin told WVHU radio host Tom Roten that removing such symbols would be “dangerous” because it would encourage people to “pretend it didn’t happen.”
In 2015, when Bevin was the Republican nominee for governor, he said it would be appropriate for state officials to remove a statue of Jefferson Davis from the rotunda of the state’s Capitol. He said that part of the state’s history would be more appropriate for a museum, “not on government property.”
Bevin’s communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.