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konradv

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Maryland: Dead Marine’s Father Must Pay Protester

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS March 29, 2010
National Briefing - Mid-Atlantic - Maryland - Dead Marine?s Father Must Pay Protester - NYTimes.com

Lawyers for the father of a Marine who died in Iraq say a court has ordered him to pay legal costs for the anti-gay protesters who picketed his son’s funeral. The protesters are led by Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. The father, Albert Snyder of York, Pa., had won a $5 million verdict against Mr. Phelps, but it was thrown out on appeal. On Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Maryland, ordered Mr. Snyder to pay the costs of Mr. Phelps’s appeal. The United States Supreme Court agreed earlier this month to consider whether the protesters’ provocative messages, which include phrases like “Thank God for dead soldiers,” are protected by the First Amendment. Members of the church maintain that God hates homosexuality and that the death of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan is God’s way of punishing the United States for its tolerance of it.




Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder

Matthew Snyder, of Finksburg, Maryland, died from a non combat-related vehicle accident in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to Combat Service Support Group-1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California. Died on March 3, 2006. Matthew was 20 years old. Matthew graduated from Westminster High School in 2003. After graduation, he enlisted in the Marines on October 14, 2003, and was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. In August of 2004, Matthew was assigned to Combat Logistics Batallion-7, Twentynine Palms, Calif. as a generator mechanic.

"He was a hero and he was the love of my life." - Albert Snyder, Matthew's Father

The family of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, US Marine Corps, has begun this civil lawsuit* against Mr. Phelps and certain members of the so-called Westboro Baptist Church to bring an end to the reign of terror and abuse that they inflicted upon the grieving families of US service members killed in defense of our nation. Using innocent children to deliver their twisted message of hatred and fear, the defendants in this suit have sought to attack the memory of our departed heroes, to strip their loved ones of their dignity, and to use abuse and intimidation as a tool for preventing surviving family members from reaching closure over their loss.

It is the sincere hope of Mr. Al Snyder, Matthew’s father, that this suit will spark similar legal actions against Mr. Phelps wherever he seeks to inflict harm upon the memory of our heroes and their families. If you feel strongly that such actions should be stopped, please consider a donation to help offset the legal expenses of bringing this suit.

*This is a private civil lawsuit that is separate from any actions being pursued by states or the federal government against Mr. Phelps. While those cases involve Government action and potential 1st Amendment issues, this case is distinct. This case simply alleges that one does not have the right to conspire to use lies in order to inflict intentional harm upon persons who are grieving the death of their children.
 

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