Jury Awards Father $2.9M in 'Anti-Gay' Funeral Case

  1. I remember reading about this story when it first happened. Imagine if this had been your loved one? (WARNING: This article contains content which includes anti-gay epithets.)

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iG5UJ5x50uIUmMI4flDQoqXea1ygD8SKEQOG0

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    Jury Awards Father $2.9M in Funeral Case

    By ALEX DOMINGUEZ – 1 hour ago

    BALTIMORE (AP) — A grieving father won a $2.9 million verdict Wednesday against a fundamentalist Kansas church that pickets military funerals out of a belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

    Albert Snyder of York, Pa., sued the Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified damages after members demonstrated at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

    U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett noted the size of the award for compensating damages "far exceeds the net worth of the defendants," according to financial statements filed with the court. The jury was to deliberate later on punitive damages.
    Church members routinely picket funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, carrying signs such as "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags."

    A number of states have passed laws regarding funeral protests, and Congress has passed a law prohibiting such protests at federal cemeteries. But the Maryland lawsuit is believed to be the first filed by the family of a fallen serviceman.

    The church and three of its leaders — the Rev. Fred Phelps and his two daughters, Shirley Phelps-Roper and Rebecca Phelps-Davis, 46 — were found liable for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress.

    Snyder claimed the protests intruded upon what should have been a private ceremony and sullied his memory of the event.

    The church members testified they are following their religious beliefs by spreading the message that the deaths of soldiers are due to the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

    Their attorneys argued in closing statements Tuesday that the burial was a public event and that even abhorrent points of view are protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and religion.

    The judge said the church's financial statements, sealed earlier, could be released to the plaintiffs.

    Earlier, church members staged a demonstration outside the federal courthouse. Church founder Fred Phelps held a sign reading "God is your enemy," while Shirley Phelps-Roper stood on an American flag and carried a sign that read "God hates fag enablers." Members of the group sang "God Hates America" to the tune of "God Bless America."

    Snyder sobbed when he heard the verdict, while members of the church greeted the news with tightlipped smiles.
     
  2. What the Westboro Baptist Church does is disgusting. This is the same group who picketed Matthew Shepherd's funeral. I heard his mother speak years ago and it was heart-breaking. The websites of this group are filled with some of the most disgusting things I have ever seen in my life.
     
  3. Those idiots need to be lined up and individually slapped until they cry like the weenies they are. If I had a family member in the service, and they showed up at the funeral, they'd have made their way into separate graves by the end of the service. Horrendously disrespectful, vulgar, crude, tasteless...I wonder how they would feel if anti-batsh**crazyfundamentalist picketers lined up at their funerals to protest. I hope they have to tear that church a part to get the money to pay off the family they tortured. Absolutely inexcusable.
     
  4. those people are literally insane.
     
  5. update on the story Church ordered to pay $10.9 million for funeral protest

    ...The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned later in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress...


    I know the money issue is really nothing compared to the devestation of losing a son but it really is a slap in the face to the church in a financial way
     


  6. ^^^
    they have NOTHING better to do!
     
  7. You know, they keep spouting off that homosexuals are going to hell.


    First of all, who are they to judge? Last I checked, none of them were the position to do that.


    They're the ones that aren't being good Christians. What they're doing is ten times worse than what anyone does in their private lives.


    That poor family deserves every penny.
     
  8. That family deserves every penny of that money.

    Those Westboro people are absolutely disgusting.
     
  9. they disgust me. I have no idea what world they think they're living in.
    sadly, i've them protest and besides being anti-gay they are also terribly anti-semitic. One of their signs actually said that Daniel Pearl, the murdered WSJ journalist, deserved to die. When I saw that sign, I almost confronted them, but realized it would have been a waste of my energy.
     
  10. That is terrible! Their thinking is soo on track.. soldiers dying? because of homosexuality? Where do they come up with such things?

    Do on to others as you want them to do onto you. Let's see how they would like it if his children died and people did that to them during their funeral service. I couldn't imagine burying a family member to have those nasty people near by doing such things. I would tear them apart. That's for sure.
     
  11. I saw a documentary on them recently and was astounded by their behaviour. It was also disgusting how little children were roped into it holding those signs.
     
  12. Omg I could not believe this! That is absolutely disgusting. How can anyone do such a thing during a funeral... I feel so bad for the family:sad: Out of all the people they could have targeted why did they have to pick the soldiers family.... That is just sick!:cursing: I usually don't support big claims in the millions.. But seeing the action of these sick people they deserve a big slap in there face!!:lecture::bagslap:
     
  13. what happened to that quote about the one without a sin casting the first stone? who gives this people the right to judge the behaviour of others????
     
  14. Those picketers are the worst kind of people, they make me sick. The soldier's family deserves every cent of that money, and may the soldier R.I.P. He died protecting those picketer's rights to be a**holes.
     
  15. You guys have said it all. These ppl are disgusting pigs.