(AFP) – Mar 31, 2010
WASHINGTON — The father of a US Marine killed in Iraq in 2006 has been ordered to pay 16,000 dollars to the preacher who organized an anti-gay protest during his son's funeral, an attorney has said.
On the day of the funeral in Maryland in 2006 for the young soldier killed in combat aged 20, Baptist preacher Fred Phelps and several members of his family organized a busy demonstration just a few meters (feet) away from the private religious ceremony.
Waving signs that read "Matt is in Hell" and "America is damned," among others, they protested with the funeral under way. Based in Kansas, Phelps often organizes anti-gay protests outside military funerals saying that the person's death was due to the fact that the United States accepts homosexuality.
The father of the late soldier, Albert Snyder, filed suit against the preacher.
First a court ruled with Snyder, but then that finding was thrown out on appeal in September when a court said Phelps was exercising his constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech.
"After the reverse of the appellate court, Phelps requested that we be required to pay," Snyder attorney Sean Summers told AFP.
"The law allows for him to request that and the (appeals court) granted that request. We opposed that, we filed brief but we didn't hear anything until recently. The ironic part is that the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case so it was kind of odd they made the decision they made."
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