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Old 06-09-2006, 08:08 PM   #1
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Marines dad sues protesters! About time someone did!

The Washington Post
Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder


Marine's Dad Sues Funeral Protestors

POSTED: 6:21 am EDT June 6, 2006

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GREENBELT, Md. -- The father of a Marine whose funeral was picketed by anti-gay protesters from a fundamentalist Kansas church filed an invasion-of-privacy suit against the demonstrators Monday.

It is believed to be the first lawsuit brought by relatives of a member of the military against Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., whose congregants demonstrate at military funerals around the country.

Albert Snyder of York, Pa., father of Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder of Westminster, seeks unspecified damages for the virulent messages held by protesters outside his son's funeral. The younger Snyder, 20, died March 3 after an accident in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. He was buried in Westminster.

The church has inspired 31 state laws banning funeral protests, including a new law in Maryland that took effect after Snyder's funeral.



After filing the suit, Albert Snyder told reporters at a news conference in Pennsylvania that he hoped a hefty judgment would make the church's members unable to afford travel for more protests.

"I want it to stop," he said of the Westboro protests. "I didn't know there were people in the world who did that. I couldn't believe it."

At the funeral, Snyder said, "I went to find closure for the loss of my son. ... I was confronted with hatred."

Snyder's lawyer, Sean Summers, said the defamation lawsuit is a first against the church stemming from a military funeral protest.

"We think it's a case we can win because anyone's funeral is private," Summers said Monday after filing the lawsuit. "You don't have a right to interrupt someone's private funeral."

The lawsuit seeks damages for invasion of privacy at the funeral. It also accuses the church of defamation for derogatory comments about Snyder placed on the church's Web site.

Summers said he has gotten calls from relatives of three other servicemen after news of the Snyder lawsuit was published. He said more lawsuits are likely for the "outrageous" protests.

"We believe the jury will do the right thing at the end of the day and give him a large jury award," Summers said.

Members of Westboro say the military deaths in Iraq are God's punishment for America's tolerance of gays. They typically carry signs with slogans such as "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for IEDs," a reference to the roadside bombs used by insurgents.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, a church member who frequently acts as spokeswoman for the small congregation, also said it was the first time Westboro has been sued by the relatives of a dead service member. A counter-lawsuit was planned for abrogation of speech rights, she said.

"What was it we did? Seven people standing in the back of the building?" she said. She said only seven people picketed the funeral, fewer than the number of counter-protesters who showed up to support the family after learning Westboro members would attend.

"We were exercising our First Amendment rights," she said.

Albert Snyder said most people disagree that the protest was protected speech.

"I'm amazed at the number of people who have called and said, 'We're behind you 100 percent.' People want these people off the street," he said.

--- On the Net: Snyder family: http://www.matthewsnyder.org
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:59 PM   #2
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Unfortunitly, no money will ever be seen. Though the act was against moral conduct, the time of the funeral was at a time that no known laws were broken. The father and those whose funerals were protested at might find comfort in the fact that now states and the federal government are passing laws against such stupid acts. With these new laws, hopefully we'll never see these kinds of people protesting again. Only time will tell. The bad thing about laws is whose reading them. Lawyers on the Supreme Court don't always agree on the same law. I'm sure in the future the ACLU or someother group will say the law is unconstituional and we'll see what happens. Hopefully nothing.
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Old 06-10-2006, 09:20 PM   #3
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Crimminal trespass could be filed but thats about it. I really hate this group and what they are doing to families.
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Old 06-11-2006, 12:13 AM   #4
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I think ya'll just want us to be a communist society where no one has free speech and we are all expected to have the same everything... including thoughts.

Wooo hooo YAY Censorship!
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Old 06-11-2006, 12:58 AM   #5
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I totally see your point, superndngyrl. To protect our own rights to free speech, we must support others, even if we don't agree. However, these people are absolutely wrong.

One of the main reasons why this country's is so screwy now is because the church has allowed stupid human bigotry, ignorance, and politics to corrupt it. These are people who justify their own pure douchebag-osity by hiding behind philosophies they've made up and claim them to be the words of a brilliant philosopher and revolutionary.

Also, like the article said, funerals are private events and these people have no right encroaching upon the mourning of a family member's death. The law passed won't stop their protests of "ameirca sux 'cuz their r gays lol", it'll just stop them from insulting and completely disrespecting the loved ones of someone who died in a cause (although very controversial) they obviously believed in.
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Last edited by NightshadeTea; 06-11-2006 at 12:59 AM.. Reason: fixing a REALLY stupid typo -_-'
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Old 06-12-2006, 10:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superndngyrl
I think ya'll just want us to be a communist society where no one has free speech and we are all expected to have the same everything... including thoughts.

Wooo hooo YAY Censorship!
No I just think people should be allowed to bury their loved one and mourn in peace without a bunch of strangers useing it as a chance to get free media hype for their own personal political view point. This man and his family were saying their final farewell to their son, they did not know these people, they were not invited to attend the funeral, they showed up and disrupted the whole thing shouting political junk that they should be talking to their elected repersenatives about.
Think about how you would like it if they showed up to your son's funeral shouting out that he deserved to die.
We had war protesters in the 60's and 70's, but they atleast gave families enough respect to NOT protest at funerals of the men who died in Vietnam. I should know, I attended several of those funerals.
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Old 06-14-2006, 10:39 PM   #7
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I have a feeling that those 7 idiots that interupted that funeral with protest will be excommunicated by their congregation. If not the Pastor of that church might be looking for a new profession...
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Old 06-17-2006, 09:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superndngyrl
I think ya'll just want us to be a communist society where no one has free speech and we are all expected to have the same everything... including thoughts.

Wooo hooo YAY Censorship!
It is not about censorship, but about location. They can have their rights, but not at the funerals. They can choose to yell, scream, put up signs in a public area.
How would you feel if anti-natives set up camp in your backyard? You wouldn't want them censored, but you would not want them in your space, right?
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRANDSON OF ZEELA
I have a feeling that those 7 idiots that interupted that funeral with protest will be excommunicated by their congregation. If not the Pastor of that church might be looking for a new profession...
The pastor is leading the group to do this and his church has to know and hasn't stopped them yet.
To SHOUT that a person deserved to die, is a baby killer and gay at a family trying to put a loved one to their final rest, to me is not only disrespectful but also morally wrong. To do so in a church during a funeral is extremely offensive!
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Old 06-17-2006, 08:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Fawn
The pastor is leading the group to do this and his church has to know and hasn't stopped them yet.
To SHOUT that a person deserved to die, is a baby killer and gay at a family trying to put a loved one to their final rest, to me is not only disrespectful but also morally wrong. To do so in a church during a funeral is extremely offensive!

Do you know what denomination the pastor and church are?
I think most athiest Heathen and even little children know better than to do what those 7 so called Christians did.
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Old 06-17-2006, 09:39 PM   #11
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They are the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, although they're more extrame Calvinist in beliefs - basically, they reject the idea that the christian God loves everyone, but rather that it hates everyone, except its elect ... which as usual seems to be the group itself exclusively. Also as usual, they seem to hate everyone themselves - gays, lesbians, jews, mormons, republicans -and- democrats ...

They claim to have ~100 members, but 90% of them are estimated to be related through blood or marriage somehow.

I don't think the law was necessary, personally. The 1st amendment does guarantee their right to say what they like, even if most of the civilized world finds the message and/or the method repugnant. The 1st amendment however doesn't guarantee their right to be seen or heard, and the Patriot Guard Riders were originally formed to make that happen - invited by the family, they block the crazies being seen by creating a wall of flags, and drown out the poisonous chants and words of the crazies by revving their bike engines.

It's a much more effective way of dealing with them than any law possibly could be, and constitutionally safe to boot. One unexpected bonus to the PGR was that it grew in 9 months to over 40,000 members, and rides to pay respect to the veterans even if the crazies won't be there. In some ways, the crazies rekindled people caring about veterans in a way long overdue for most of the country.
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Old 06-17-2006, 11:31 PM   #12
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I've met some of the people who ride with the PGR and they are nice people who are doing a wonderful job of protecting greiving family's and they do it out of love and respect, paying for the gas out of their own pockets. I'm very thankful that they are around.
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Old 06-18-2006, 06:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Fawn
I've met some of the people who ride with the PGR and they are nice people who are doing a wonderful job of protecting greiving family's and they do it out of love and respect, paying for the gas out of their own pockets. I'm very thankful that they are around.

On behalf of Miika, Annie, thank you for the kind words regarding PGR riders. (Miika is my better half and she is in Chicago for the next week with limited 'net access). Miika has been "riding" with PGR for the past month for the runs in the DC Metro area.

Our experience with PGR folk has been that they are very welcoming! Miika, a UK vet, is in a wheelchair (albeit a rather substantial motorized one she calls "the Tank" - top speed 6 mph!) and the PGR riders (mostly US vets themselves) have adopted her as a little sister, making a place in the ranks of bikes for her 4-wheeled mode of transport.

Good has come out of what these Kansas idjits are doing. It has given a focus for people to be able to pay their respects to veterans in a way that wasn't available before.

~b2w
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
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On behalf of Miika, Annie, thank you for the kind words regarding PGR riders. (Miika is my better half and she is in Chicago for the next week with limited 'net access). Miika has been "riding" with PGR for the past month for the runs in the DC Metro area.

Our experience with PGR folk has been that they are very welcoming! Miika, a UK vet, is in a wheelchair (albeit a rather substantial motorized one she calls "the Tank" - top speed 6 mph!) and the PGR riders (mostly US vets themselves) have adopted her as a little sister, making a place in the ranks of bikes for her 4-wheeled mode of transport.

Good has come out of what these Kansas idjits are doing. It has given a focus for people to be able to pay their respects to veterans in a way that wasn't available before.

~b2w
Tell Miika, I said thanks and good job! Those of us with family members in the military really appreicate the job they are doing!
I want to hear more abouth her tank. It sounds so cool and she sounds like a wonderful lady.
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