On his Facebook page, William Reilly, the House clerk in the state Capitol, reports that his office has been inundated with inquiries about the law that protects all Confederate monuments in Georgia.
The statute was part of a 2001 compromise that removed a segregation-era state flag.
This is also the law that would thwart the call by state Rep. Stacey Abrams, a Democratic candidate for mayor, to sandblast the carving of Confederate leaders from Stone Mountain. It’s also the statute that would have to be changed if communities were allowed to determine what monuments remain on their ground, as another Democratic candidate, state Rep. Stacey Evans, has advocated.
Reilly cited the section of the Georgia code that applies. Here’s a portion of the language:
4) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or other entity acting without authority to mutilate, deface, defile, abuse contemptuously, relocate, remove, conceal, or obscure any privately owned monument, plaque, marker, or memorial which is dedicated to, honors, or recounts the military service of any past or present military personnel of this state, the United States of America or the several states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or the several states thereof. Any person or entity who suffers injury or damages as a result of a violation of this paragraph may bring an action individually or in a representative capacity against the person or persons committing such violations to seek injunctive relief and to recover general and exemplary damages sustained as a result of such person’s or persons’ unlawful actions.
(c) Any other provision of law notwithstanding, the memorial to the heroes of the Confederate States of America graven upon the face of Stone Mountain shall never be altered, removed, concealed, or obscured in any fashion and shall be preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.