A fundamentalist church that protests at soldiers’ funerals faces its first lawsuit today from the family of a fallen serviceman.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church face trial in Baltimore for an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit filed by the father of a fallen Marine from Westminster.
Albert Snyder of York, Penn., says the church interrupted his grieving process at the funeral for his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq last year. Church members say they were only exercising their free speech rights.
The lawsuit is the first in the nation to be filed against the church by a grieving relative.
The church believes war deaths are God’s retribution for America’s tolerance of homosexuality, and their protests have inspired almost two dozen states to put new limits on protests at funerals.
Last week, a judge threw out defamation claims against the church, but Snyder’s lawsuit is proceeding on invasion-of-privacy grounds. He also seeks damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Original title: Trial starts for church that protests at soldiers’ funerals