Supreme Court To Hear Military Funeral Protest Cas - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Supreme Court To Hear Military Funeral Protest Case

WASHINGTON — The father of a Marine killed in Iraq is asking the Supreme Court to reinstate a $5 million verdict against members of a fundamentalist church who picketed his son's funeral with signs like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates the USA."

The court is hearing arguments Wednesday in the dispute between Albert Snyder of York, Pa., and members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The case pits Snyder's right to grieve privately against the church members' right to say what they want, no matter how offensive.

Westboro members, led by the Rev. Fred Phelps, have picketed many military funerals to make their point that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for Americans' immorality, including tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.

They welcome the attention the protests have brought, mocking their critics and vowing not to change their ways whatever the outcome at the Supreme Court.

"No American should ever be required to apologize for following his or her conscience," said Margie Phelps, a daughter of Fred Phelps and the lawyer who is arguing the case for the church.

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