COLUMBIA, South Carolina (AP) -- The push to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse cleared another hurdle Tuesday, as the view of a long-held symbol shifts across the South in the wake of last month's mass shooting at a historic black church.
The state Senate gave final approval to a bill to remove the Civil War-era rebel banner. The 36-3 vote now sends the bill to the House, where it faces a less certain future.
Senators on Monday voted to take down the flag, placed near the edge of the Statehouse grounds in 2000 as part of a compromise that involved removing the flag from atop the Statehouse dome. Tuesday's vote was needed to send the bill on to the House.
But while that means debate would begin Wednesday in the House, it is far from clear whether a vote will take place that day, or what the vote will be. House members appear to be less unified.
Authorities investigating the June 17 shooting of nine people in Charleston have charged a young white man who posed for pictures with the rebel banner. Police say he was driven by racial hatred.
Democrats say both the flag and flagpole must go, House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford said. Business leaders and Gov. Nikki Haley agree.
Several white senators this week have said they have come to understand why their black colleagues feel the flag no longer represents the valor of Southern soldiers but the racism that led the South to separate from the United States more than 150 years ago.
As the senators spoke Monday, the desk of their slain colleague, state senator and the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was still draped in black cloth.
Several senators said the grace shown by the families of the victims willing to forgive the gunman also changed their minds.
"We now have the opportunity, the obligation, to put the exclamation point on an extraordinary narrative of good and evil, of love and mercy that will take its place in the history books," said Sen. Tom Davis, a Republican.