Originally published on Advocate.com November 18 2003 12:00 AM ET
A Ten Commandments monument that suddenly became the focus of threatened lawsuits has been moved to storage after 38 years in a Casper, Wyo., public park. The city council voted last month to eventually include the monument in a plaza featuring monuments to other historical documents.
After a dispute that eventually led to the removal of a Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama Supreme Court building, the Reverend Fred Phelps, of Topeka, Kan., threatened to sue Casper if it did not allow a monument saying slain University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard went to hell because he was gay. Meanwhile, the Freedom From Religion Foundation threatened to sue the city if the Ten Commandments monument was not removed.
A six-man crew from the Highland Cemetery and the Casper Public Utilities Department dug out the base of the monument, which weighs between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds, and used a crane to lift it. Cemetery supervisor Mark Patceg said the crew would take the monument to the Casper Service Center, where workers would remove the uneven concrete foundation from the base in preparation for its eventual placement at the plaza.