Local governments in Virginia are permitted to display religious holiday symbols on public property, the Commonwealth's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced Tuesday.
"Where the county already has provided a public forum or limited public forum, it will usually lack the right to exclude a religious display of reasonable duration based solely upon content," Cuccinelli wrote in an advisory opinion.
He added that even in the absence of a prior forum the county "is free to create a nondiscriminatory forum for recognition of holidays, including Christmas, it if makes clear that the county itself is not communicating a religious message."
Cuccinelli noted those governments must be sure other beliefs are allowed to display their holiday symbols.
The attorney general released his opinion after Delegate Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William inquired about what conditions Loudoun County would be allowed to display the "birth of Jesus Christ."