Topeka Members of a Kansas church sued for protesting outside a Marine’s funeral are gearing up to present their case to the U.S. Supreme Court in October.
The high court is scheduled to hear arguments Oct. 6 in the case of Westboro Baptist Church, which claims its protests outside a 2006 funeral of a Marine killed in Iraq were free speech protected by the First Amendment.
The Topeka-based fundamentalist church members picket funerals of service members, contending the deaths are God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality.
Albert Snyder, of York, Pa., sued Westboro, accusing it of inflicting emotional distress and invading his privacy when pickets protested outside the funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, in Westminster, Md.
The court will consider whether Westboro’s message is protected by the First Amendment or limited by privacy and religious rights of mourners.
In 2007, a jury found against Westboro and awarded Snyder nearly $11 million as compensation for emotional distress and invasion of privacy. That award was later reduced and then overturned by a court of appeals.