The Supreme Court Of The United States ought to be commended for its recent decision in Snyder v. Phelps, more commonly known as the “God Hates Fags” case. The Court affirmed the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that, though distasteful, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) has the right to protest the funeral of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder. Snyder died for his country in Iraq on March 3, 2006.
Snyder’s father, Albert Snyder, sued the WBC and its pastor, Fred Phelps, on multiple torts and won the case on the Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress tort, he was awarded $10.9 million by a jury. The Fourth Circuit overturned this decision on First Amendment grounds. Regardless of one’s emotional feelings, the Fourth Circuit got this case right.
The Westboro Baptist Church is a group of evil individuals devoted to a message of hatred and bigotry (though they will deny this fact, saying that they are simply spreading “God’s message”), but their speech is still protected by the Constitution.