promotion image of download ymail app



The Supreme Court struggled Wednesday to find a constitutional balance between free speech and privacy in a case involving provocative anti-homosexual protests by a small church at the funeral of a soldier who died in Iraq.

Members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church protested outside the court, while inside one of their members argued they have the right to promote what they call a broad-based message on public matters such as wars.

But the lawyer for the fallen Marine's father argued those protests are an invasion of privacy and an intentional infliction of emotional distress.

"[Justice] Brandeis said the right to be let alone was the most important, and so he must have been thinking there could be a tort [lawsuit] there for interference with privacy," said Justice Stephen Breyer, speaking for many of his colleagues. "And emotional injury, deliberately inflicted, could be one. ... But I see that in some instances that could be abused to prevent somebody from getting out a public message, and therefore, I'm looking for a line."

At issue is a delicate test between the privacy rights of grieving families and the free speech rights of demonstrators, however disturbing and provocative their message. Several states have attempted to impose specific limits on when and where the church members can protest.

The church, led by pastor Fred Phelps, believes God is punishing the United States for "the sin of homosexuality" through events including soldiers' deaths. Members have traveled the country shouting at grieving families at funerals and displaying such signs as "Thank God for dead soldiers," "God blew up the troops" and "AIDS cures fags."

Westboro members had appeared outside the 2006 funeral for Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder in Westminster, Maryland, outside Baltimore.

Snyder's family sued the church in 2007, alleging invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. A jury awarded the family $2.9 million in compensatory damages plus $8 million in punitive damages, which were later reduced to $5 million.

The church appealed the case in 2008 to the 4th District, which reversed the judgments a year later, siding with the church's allegations that its First Amendment rights were violated.

Albert Snyder, Matthew's father, said his son was not gay and the protesters should not have been at the funeral.

"I was just shocked that any individual could do this to another human being," Snyder told CNN. "I mean, it was inhuman."


THX SOOOO MUCH!!!!!! <33

3 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    This "church" wants to promote their "ideals" where ever they want, in this case, military funerals. The family's of the dead say that these aren't using First Amendment Rights, but are abuses, because this is causing the family distress. On the one hand, people are supposed to be able to discuss and protest their views, however they wish, and they should be NO censorship. HOWEVER, this isn't meant to allow others to cause harm to others, such as not being able to jokingly yell "Fire" in a crowded theater, because too many people could die from the (false) panic.

    IMO, Westboro Baptist Church members are PATHETIC SCUM, who go to FUNERALS to further their jerk-off political agendas! Instead of protesting in front of city hall, state and federal congress offices, and colleges and universities, they pick funerals! Probably fear members of the college's football teams would beat the Holy Hell out of demonic pricks like you!

    If this OFFENDS you, write to the courts, congress, and tell them that FUNERALS ARE *NOT* APPROPRIATE FOR POLITICAL AGENDAS! Support Albert Snyder for Matthew Snyder's death! Read the article in my source.

    Youtube thumbnail

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • bonamy
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    a million. definite, I do like it yet i'm no longer under any circumstances obsessed and have not have been given any persistence with the freakish, obsessed, groupie fangirls. i like it simply by fact, properly, it is not like the comparable previous sugary candy extreme college musical tweeniebopper pap that I many times examine/watch (am attempting to cut back down on that however!) 2. No, have not examine it. i could want to however, I even have heard it is rather sturdy. 3. I even have only examine the 1st 2 books. So i've got not got a wide-unfold. I even have seen the 1st, 2d and 4th videos additionally and could want to examine and notice something of books and flicks. only stupid library never has those you want!

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 9 years ago

    The church was listen to the family talk about somthing they didnt want to share, which was privacy but the church changed it to freedom of speech when the whole church was told what the family had said.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.