HAYDEN, Idaho – The Hayden man who was in a legal battle with his homeowner’s association over his Christmas display is not putting them up this year.
Jeremy Morris' legal battle with the West Hayden Homeowners Association started back in 2015 when he moved to this home with the intent to host an annual charity Christmas show with Santa Claus, carolers, and live nativity scene featuring Dolly the camel.
“This isn't about Christmas lights but about a family moving into a neighborhood that was notified by the homeowners association through a certified letter that certain people in the neighborhood would be uncomfortable or have a problem with a celebration of Christmas,” Morris said.
The HOA said the show would violate rules and were concerned about the traffic, excessive noise, and brightness. The HOA threatened to sue but eventually backed down. The Christmas show went on last year but this year Morris' house is a completely different scene.
“Some of them have told me, ‘Jeremy I don't know if it will feel like Christmas without going to your Christmas program this year,’” he explained.
His house will remain dark because he is in the middle of a federal lawsuit alleging that the HOA discriminated against him based on his religion, violating the fair housing act and the Idaho Human Rights act.
“This isn't about Christmas lights, this is about freedom and our ability to express our faith in our own way,” Morris said. “Since we moved here our family has felt not only ostracized, but living under a threat of violence, nobody who moves into a neighborhood should have to feel.”
As a result, Morris argues in court documents that his family was embarrassed and ostracized but even after all of this he hopes he can continue his Christmas display for the near 20 to 30 years.
A trial date will be set next month. Morris is seeking to have his house deannexed from the HOA along with $250,000 dollars in punative damages.