03 March 2011

Military Funeral Protest Ruled Constitutional

On Wednesday February 23 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Anti-Homosexual protests taking place at military funerals. The court voted 8-1, in support of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. The Westboro Church is known for their belief that the deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are God's punishment for America's view on homosexuality. Rev. Fred Phelps and some member of his family and congregation picketed the funeral of Albert Snyder's son,who died in the Iraq war. They carried signs which proclaimed "Thank God for dead soldiers" "God hates the USA" "Thank God for 9/11".
The Supreme Court upheld a previous verdict by the court of appeals which ruled against the Snyder family revoking a 5 million dollar settlement from a previous court case. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion stating that ruling against the church would be ruling against our 1st amendment rights. MSNBC quoted Roberts saying "Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker,". Justice Alito wrote the descending opinion stating "Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case,". 48 states and 42 U.S. senators sided with Alito and the Snyder family. Margie Phelps, daughter of the Reverend and lawyer who argued the case had this to say about the courts decision and the public outcry "The wrath of God is pouring onto this land. Rather than trying to shut us up, use your platforms to tell this nation to mourn for your sins."

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