‘God Hates F*gs’ case gets Supreme Court review

Related Topics: Supreme Court, God, Agreed, Case, Author, Albert, Military, Free, Religious, Christian, Sexuality, Attention, Emotional, United States, Laws, Free Speech, Website, Law

By Agence France-Presse Monday, March 8th, 2010

The US Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether vitriolic anti-gay protesters who picket the funerals of US soldiers are protected by free speech laws.

The emotionally-charged case was brought by the family of US Marine Matthew Snyder, who was killed in combat in Iraq in 2006.

His family organized a private Christian funeral for him in Maryland that attracted members of the radicalr Westboro Church led by Baptist preacher Fred Phelps.

Phelps and his congregation regularly demonstrate at military funerals, carrying inflammatory signs to draw attention to their anti-gay message.

The religious group protest at the funerals of soldiers, regardless of the sexuality of the deceased military personnel, and use the events to bring publicity to their campaign.

The preacher and six relatives arrived at Snyder's funeral carrying signs that read "America is doomed," "Matt in hell" and "Semper Fi fags," in reference to the Marine motto "Semper Fi."

After the funeral was over, Phelps continued to deride and criticize Snyder on his website, prompting the dead Marine's family to sue the preacher before a Maryland court.

Snyder's father Albert claimed Phelps had intruded on a private event and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the bereaved family and won an initial award of five million dollars.

But the award was overturned on appeal, where a court ruled that Westburo protesters were simply exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.

Protests launched by Phelps and his congregants have been met with revulsion across the United States and around 40 states have now passed laws regulating demonstrations at funerals.

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  • RC 2010/03/16 23:27:48
    Those people claim to christian, but they are like the terrorist who claim islam! God loves all of us. He hates sin.
  • Nick Name RC 2010/03/17 00:38:56
    Nick Name
    I've never been able to equate enlightment with hatred.
  • yomamma 2010/03/09 16:54:45 (edited)
    I think that protests such are these are an absolute disgrace to America and a debasement of human progress and of civilization. This sort of thing could be considered under "hate" speech (which it is) and therefore unlawful and riotous.

    This is also shameful. A symbol of the depraved and ignorant in this country. Look at them! People hiding behind GOD and SIGNS to riot and send out HATE outside somebody's funeral for GOD's sake. Rather than produce a rational and civilized argument for other citizens to consider for changing their points of view, THEY DEGRADE THEMSELVES and their own children to such juvenile tactics BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO RATIONAL ARGUMENT TO OFFER. These people are very sadly the mindless, ignorant and depraved.
  • Naui 2010/03/09 16:17:52
  • Joseph E. Bowker, CMSgt, US... 2010/03/09 15:08:54
    Joseph E. Bowker, CMSgt, USAF (Ret)
    The First Amendment is given too many freedoms it never intended. I like the law as I saw it in Europe where rights are individual, not group laws as we have here. There, you have a right to slap my face, up to the point of contact with my face where I have a right not to be hit. These Creeps at funerals need to go away. What they are doing are hate crimes, and they have no right to practice their sick-o Baptist religion in public to begin with, and at a Warriors graveside. Pure and simple Hate Crime, and they need to get arrested, jailed for 5 years, and fined several million dollars. We owe more to the warriors family than to these utter creeps. jailed 5 years fined dollars owe warriors family utter creeps
  • Captain Sticky 2010/03/09 14:12:52
    Captain Sticky
    Seems to me he could be stopped with a simple hate crime charge. What a country!

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