A Reuters report by John Hurdle reports that the Kansas based Westboro Baptist Church has been ordered to pay $2.9 million in compensatory damages to the family of a gay marine killed in Iraq. They had cheered and protested at his funeral, as they have done at many of the funerals for soldiers killed in the war, claiming it to be God’s vengeance on America for the way it treats them, and for letting gay people live here.
This appears to be the first civil case against the church, and it was filed by the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. The juryÃ‚Â found thatÃ‚Â “the Westboro Baptist Church and three of its principals had invaded the privacy of the dead man’s family and inflicted emotional distress when they protested at his funeral last year.”
The soldier’s death was God’s punishment on America for tolerating homosexuality, the church’s members said.
The church is headed by Fred Phelps, and the only members seem to members of Phelp’s family. They’ve been waging a war against homosexuality for years, and have pulled some the craziest and most intolerable stunts you can imagine. Therefore, I think no one will be very upset to see this judgment against the group.
UPDATE: Later today, according to the Associated Press, the jury returned an additional judgementÃ‚Â of $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress.