The father of a dead Marine has been ordered to pay the legal costs of a preacher who picketed his son’s funeral.
Albert Snyder of Pennsylvania sued Fred Phelps, who taunts grieving mourners at soldier funerals, saying their deaths are God’s retribution for America’s support of gay rights. Phelps won the case on appeal and asked the court to force Snyder to pay the legal costs of defending himself. The court agreed.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, defining to what extent Phelps’ protests are protected by the First Amendment. But Snyder says he’s having trouble coming up with the money to file briefs in that case.
Phelps’ supporters also picketed the funeral of Andrew Kemple in Anoka in 2006. That led Minnesota lawmakers to pass a law making it a crime to disrupt funerals.
A federal court has blocked a similar law from being enforced in Missouri, and the Supreme Court last year refused to consider that case.
It’s one of the subjects we covered today on Fresh Eye on the Radio with Mary Lucia of The Current.
(Photo: Johnathan Phelps holds signs during a protest by followers of the Rev. Fred Phelps, who claims soldiers have died because they fought for a country that condones homosexuality, in Shumway, Ill., Friday, May 19, 2006. AP Photo/James A. Finley)