Anti-Gay Westboro Church Allowed to Continue Hate Filled Protests
The US supreme court has ruled in favour of the detested Westboro church's continued right to picket military funerals.
An action was brought against the church by Albert Snyder, father of a 20-year-old marine who was killed in Iraq in 2006. Outside his funeral, members of the Westboro church carried signs and placards claiming that US deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are God's punishment on America for tolerating homosexuality.
The group has turned up to about 200 military funerals, regardless of whether the dead are gay or not. Snyder was not.
His father launched a legal action a year later, saying he objected to the service being marred in this way and that he had suffered emotional distress. However, the supreme court ruled today that whilst the protesters caused pain, the constitutional right to free speech overrode that.
As well as picketing military funerals, the church also pickets sporting events, concerts and other occasions, seeking publicity for its despicable views. As well as being anti-gay, it is also anti-Jewish, anti-Catholic and anti-Chinese.
Whilst some mainstream media groups appreciated that free speech must be preserved, even where the views being expressed are as abhorrent as this, the ruling was not universally accepted. Sarah Palin tweeted "Common sense & decency absent as wacko "church" allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers' funerals but we can't invoke God's name in public square".
Date: 02 March 2011
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