U.S. Supreme Court to review anti-gay protests at Westminster funeral

March 08, 2010|By Tricia Bishop | tricia.bishop@baltsun.com | Baltimore Sun reporter

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it would consider whether the hate-filled anti-gay protests held at a Maryland soldier's funeral in Westminster were constitutionally protected by the First Amendment.

The 2006 funeral for Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq, drew members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who picketed outside with signs reading "Fag troops" and "Thank God for dead soldiers."

The 75-member congregation based in Topeka, Kansas, says soldiers are dying because of the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

In 2007, a federal jury in Baltimore awarded Snyder's father nearly $11 million in a civil suit against church leaders. The amount was reduced to $5 million a few months later.

In September, a federal appeals court reversed the award, ruling that the protests were protected speech and that they did not violate the privacy of the Snyder's family. The high court will review that decision.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.