BOISE, Idaho City voters have rejected a proposal to return a Ten Commandments monument to a public park in a referendum on religious displays on public property.
With 99% of precincts counted, the vote was 37,568 to 33,747, about 53% to 47% against moving the monument back to city property.
Other cities across the nation have also debated whether to display religious monuments on public grounds.
Boise's debate began in March 2004 after Mayor Dave Bieter and the City Council agreed to move a 40-year-old granite monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments from Julia Davis Park to an Episcopal church across the street from the Statehouse.
They did so to avoid a lawsuit from the Rev. Fred Phelps of Kansas, who sought to erect an anti-gay monument in the same park. Moving the Ten Commandments monument left him without First Amendment grounds to sue, and backers of the change said it also made the monument more visible.
A group called Keep the Commandments Coalition protested and gathered thousands of signatures in support of putting the decision to a public vote that year, but the city refused, claiming its decision was administrative and not subject to reversal by initiative.
The coalition went to court, and the Idaho Supreme Court put the matter on the ballot this year while deferring a ruling on the validity of the referendum until after the election.