CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Chesapeake City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to display the motto “In God We Trust” throughout city hall.
Councilwoman Suzy Kelly has spearheaded the effort to add the motto to city council’s chambers.
“I thought, ‘Well why not Chesapeake?'” she told 10 On Your Side. “I mean we are, we are filled with faithful people, filled with very patriotic people, people that serve in our military, this is the perfect place.”
In a letter to council, the city’s attorney said, “the resolution will… express confidence in divine guidance.” The city attorney also cited court rulings that argue that the display is Constitutional.
Congressman Randy Forbes and his wife were among those who attended the meeting in support of displaying the motto.
“It crosses political lines,” Forbes told council. “It is a bipartisan issue, Democrats and Republicans, it crosses racial lines.”
“In God We trust” has been the national motto since 1956. It’s also been featured on U.S. currency since 1864.
If this resolution passes, the council will have the phrase posted in council chambers and in other places throughout city hall.
In a WAVY Facebook poll — prior to the Tuesday night vote — the majority of voters were in support of the measure, while 200 opposed. Some comments on social media argued the motto could be alienating to some.
Stacy Martinson made that case before council.
“I don’t think the sign is offensive in any way it’s not that but I do think people might find it divisive,” Martinson said. “And if there’s really any building or room in our entire city that should be representing everyone in that city, it’s this room and this building.”
Kelly tells 10 On Your Side that no public funds will be spent on displays. She’s already received offers to have some donated including one from the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation.
As for what exact display will end up in city hall, when and where, Kelly says that hasn’t been decided yet.