South Carolina House Approves Bill to Remove Confederate Flag

The flag could come down within days.

ByABC News
July 9, 2015, 1:52 AM

— -- The South Carolina House has approved a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds, and the flag will be taken down Friday.

The vote early this morning came after more than 13 hours of debate.

The House approved the Senate bill by more than a two-thirds margin. Republican Gov. Nikki Haley will sign the bill at 4 p.m. today and the flag will come down at 10 a.m. Friday, the governor's office confirmed today.

“Today, as the Senate did before them, the House of Representatives has served the State of South Carolina and her people with great dignity,” Haley said in a statement after the House vote. “I'm grateful for their service and their compassion. It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state.”

Efforts to have the flag removed intensified amid a June 17 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston in which nine people died.

Republican Rep. Jenny Horne scolded fellow members of her party for stalling the debate with dozens of amendments, recalling the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of Emanuel AME and a former house member who died in the shooting.

"For the widow of Sen. Pinckney and his two young daughters, [keeping the flag] would be adding insult to injury and I will not be a part of it," she screamed into a microphone.

The flag has been flying at the statehouse since the early 1960s, serving, for many, as a reminder of a racist past. Others have argued that the flag reflects Southern pride.

The vote marks a stunning reversal in a state that was the first to leave the Union in 1860 and raised the flag again at its statehouse more than 50 years ago to protest the civil rights movement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.