Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed into law Thursday a bill that would protect public schools from legal actions if they chose to say "Merry Christmas."
"Religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion," the Republican said, The Associated Press reported.
Religious holiday symbols are also protected under the law, so long as more than one religion and a secular symbol, such as Santa Claus, are also represented, the AP said.
Houston Republican Rep. Dwayne Bohac sponsored the legislation, saying it will protect schools from "ridiculous" lawsuits that seek to stifle the First Amendment.
The bill sailed through both chambers of the legislature, the AP said.
The governor was flanked by Santa Claus impersonators as he signed the new law, the AP reported.
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