The father of a Marine whose funeral was picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church says an order to pay the protesters' legal costs in a civil claim is nothing less than a "slap in the face."This particular group of Baptists is a fundamentalist church based in Topeka, Kansas. They demonstrated outside Snyder's funeral in 2006 in Westminster, Maryland, carrying signs reading "You're going to hell," "God hates you" and "Thank God for dead soldiers."
"By the court making this decision, they're not only telling me that they're taking their side, but I have to pay them money to do this to more soldiers and their families," said Albert Snyder, whose son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in action in Iraq in 2006.
Among the teachings of the church, which was founded in 1955 by pastor Fred Phelps, is the belief that God is punishing the United States for "the sin of homosexuality" through events such as soldiers' deaths.
The Snyder family sued the church for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. Initially they won a big settlement but when the conviction was overturned in the appeals court the Snyder's were ordered to pay their opponents' legal fees.
The appeals court determined that although the protesting was in poor taste, it was protected by the 1st Amendment.
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