Supreme Court Takes on Anti-Gay Funeral Protest Case

Father of slain soldier wants damages from Westboro Baptist Church
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2010 9:49 AM CST
A member of the Westboro Baptist Church waves signs before the funeral for John McDonald, one of eight people killed in a Nebraska department store shooting, in this file photo.    (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a lawsuit against the Westboro Baptist Church, the band of religious zealots who hold anti-gay protests at the funerals of slain soldiers. The case is being brought by the father of a Marine killed in Iraq, whose son's funeral was targeted by the group, which believes US soldier deaths are God's revenge for tolerating homosexuality. He’s hoping the high court will reverse a unanimous appeals court ruling against him.

“For the rest of my life, I will remember what they did to me,” the father tells the New York Times. “It has tarnished the memory of my son’s last hour on earth.” But the protesters, who waved signs with messages like, “God Hates You” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” complied with all local laws. “As utterly distasteful as these signs are,” one appeals court judge wrote, “they involve matters of public concern” and are protected under the First Amendment.

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