Originally published on Advocate.com January 22 2004 12:00 AM ET
In the wake of a threatened lawsuit by Kansas preacher Fred Phelps, who wanted to erect an antigay monument in Boise, Ida., the Ten Commandments monument that has stood in Boise's Julia Davis Park since 1965 will be moved. The Boise city council voted 4-2 on Tuesday to return the monument to its original donor, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, which will display it at the entrance to its building in Boise. The Eagle Lodge supported the city's action. Councilman Alan Shealy made the motion, citing possible lawsuits from the Phelps, who was denied his request to place an antigay monument in Julia Davis Park. Phelps approached the Boise Parks and Recreation Department, requesting to erect a granite monument
condemning Matthew Shepard, a Laramie, Wyo., gay man who was killed in 1998. The department rejected his request, but he appealed.
Phelps cited a 10th U.S. circuit court of appeals ruling that any city displaying a Ten Commandments monument must also allow the display of monuments espousing other beliefs. Phelps also petitioned Minidoka, Ida., County commissioners after American Legion Post 10 asked to buy a 2-by-3-foot section plot for a Ten Commandments monument. He also petitioned Twin Falls, Ida., for another monument after The Times-News ran an article about the county Parks and Waterways Board's program allowing people to memorialize loved ones in city parks by buying trees, park benches, and picnic tables. Phelps was denied a similar request in Casper, Wyo., last year. City official there also voted to move a Ten Commandments monument out of a city park to avoid a Phelps lawsuit.