South Carolina legislators took a roundabout vote Wednesday in support of the Confederate battle flag, then quickly backed away from the issue.
The flag’s supporters in the House sought to insert an amendment into a spending bill requiring that the flag be put back atop the Statehouse if it is taken down during upcoming renovations.
An attempt to kill the amendment failed on a 65-47 vote.
But just as victory seemed assured, flag supporters backed down, saying they did not want to prolong the House’s debate on the $38.7 million spending bill. The House then rejected the amendment in a voice vote.
A lawsuit filed by several state business leaders and Columbia Mayor Bob Coble asks that the flag be taken down. The lawsuit is before the state Supreme Court.
The Confederate battle flag has flown atop the Statehouse since 1962.
Supporters say the flag, with its familiar blue “X” with stars on a field of red, honors those who died in the Civil War. Opponents say it has racist overtones that remind people of slavery and opposition to civil rights.