A father of a Marine killed in Iraq says he won't pay the legal fees of a protest group who picketed at his son's funeral in 2006 – at least not until he hears from the US Supreme Court on the matter.It's one thing to defend free speech rights, but to make the dad pay for this church's legal fees? Disgraceful decision. However, to be fair, did he have to go to court in the first place? It's probable that seeking harassment charges might have been a better option. At least Mr. Snyder is getting help from Bill O'Reilly and other conservatives.
Albert Snyder, whose son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in Iraq, learned Friday that a Christian fundamentalist group that demonstrates during military funerals to gain attention for its antigovernment, antihomosexual message. The group rallied at Matthew Snyder’s funeral in March 2006 in Westminster, Md., chanting antigay slogans and carrying signs such as “Thank God for dead soldiers,” says Albert Snyder’s attorney, Sean Summers.is requiring him to pay more than $16,000 in legal fees to the , a
The group was protesting about 30 feet from the church’s main entrance, and Mr. Snyder had to enter through a separate entrance, Mr. Summers says.
Snyder subsequently sued the Westboro group for emotional distress and won a $5 million judgment. But on appeal, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, finding in favor of protecting the protesters' free-speech rights. About three weeks ago, the Supreme Court agreed to take the case and is expected to hear it in the fall. (Last year, the high court had declined to take up the issue.) Meanwhile, the circuit court has ordered Snyder, a salesman, to pay the church’s court expenses.