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Father of dead U.S. Marine ordered to pay organizers of anti-gay protest

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fred Phelps

The father of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq has been ordered to pay $16,510 to a family that protested his son’s funeral in Maryland.

Albert Snyder sued members of the Westboro Baptist Church because they waved signs saying “God hates the USA,” “Matt is in Hell” and others bearing anti-gay slurs at the 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

A federal jury in Baltimore awarded Snyder $11 million in damages in 2007, saying the group from Topeka, Kan., intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the family. The award was reduced to $5 million and was eventually overturned after an appeal by church group leader Fred Phelps.

Now, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered Snyder to pay $16,510.80 to Phelps to cover the cost of their appeals.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on the case.

Snyder told the Baltimore Sun he’s received about 3,000 e-mails from people who planned to contribute to the payment. The American Legion is also asking people to donate, and has collected over $5,000 in under 18 hours.

Phelps and his children have been called the “most hated family in America” because they picket funerals with signs reading “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for dead soldiers,” among others.

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Filed under: Kansas, Maryland, National Headlines

38 more reader comments:

  1. Not cool.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:33pm
  2. ^agrees

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:34pm
  3. what the fuck no lie WHAT THE FUCK

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:34pm
  4. ^agrees again

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:35pm
  5. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!!?

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:35pm
  6. I don't understand why the dad has to pay money to the family that protested his son's funeral! That's so freaking dumb!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:37pm
  7. absolutely dispicable…almost like killing a person twice for the family in grief. 'Father Forgive them for…'

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:37pm
  8. Bill O'Reilly on FOX News even said he would personally pay the $16,510 court judgement because he was absolutely outraged also.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:37pm
  9. well thats how stupid the law is, if u lose the case, u have to pay the court fees

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:37pm
  10. It's so stupid. The family was mourning for their loss and stupid WBC had to ruin it for everyone. Can't they see that no one actually cares except for themselves?!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:38pm
  11. Why the FUCK would he lose that case anyway?? That's blatant disrespect. I understand freedom of speech, but shit…

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:40pm
  12. Wow…Words can not describe how pissed I am…

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:40pm
  13. ^agreed

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:40pm
  14. ^^I completely agree^^This is unbelievable.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:41pm
  15. I agree words can not describe how fucking pissed I am about this….. that is so unfair!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:46pm
  16. Step 1… Lets get this CULT LEADERS tax exempt status revoked…His lawyer (also his daughter) was just bragging on CNN about how this money was going to fund MORE PROTESTS!!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:49pm
  17. @Mongoni: Actually, the judges have discretion as to whether or not loser has to pay the court costs and fees (other than attorney's fees). Usually, it is only done when the underlying lawsuit is frivolous, but in this case, the father won big time in the first court that heard it, so it was very unusual the appeals court would order him to pay anything even though they overturned the first verdict.That's why this instance is especially unbelievable.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:50pm
  18. Now, those lunatics at the "church" can use the $16,510 to go do this to more families. This is beyond outrageous! What a miscarriage of justice!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:51pm
  19. But that's one of the ways this family has made its money—-they do acts outrageous enough to be sued for, and they always win on freedom-of-speech grounds. Other than incorrectly yelling Fire! in a crowded theater, free speech rights in the U.S. are pretty much absolute–not like in some countries (Canada for one) where hate speech isn't allowed.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:55pm
  20. Maybe that is why Phelps hosts the web site http://www.godhatescanada.com

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:59pm
  21. bullshit! make the church pay!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:00pm
  22. Wow that is sick!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:03pm
  23. Freedom of speech my ass! This country keeps trying to promate anti-gay!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:06pm
  24. okay im confused. who is albert? and is he paying the protesters or…whats going on?

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:09pm
  25. I just do not understand this! But, it sickens me that Bill O'Reilly, of all people, offered to pay the father's legal bills.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:10pm
  26. but this was over turned on the appeal side so how much did the phsycos pay the judge too get it over turned

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:12pm
  27. That poor father! Not only lost his son, he now has to pay those jack ass lawyers who actually defend these "holy" jerkoffs. That church should pay him and his family the original 10million plus interest AND make a formal written apology in the nations biggest papers!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:13pm
  28. Wow! i am speechless!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:27pm
  29. This cult does not hire outside lawyers. The daughter of Fred Phelps is a lawyer and all the "legal fees" go directly to her. She has already gloated that this money will fund more trips to protest more funerals of dead soldiers. Flaming bags of dogshit have more class than this family of cultists.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:40pm
  30. unconscionable, yet somehow believable.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:41pm
  31. Hmmm, hopefully something is done to Westboro this time, the shit they do on a regular basis is just extremely outrageous.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:51pm
  32. someone definitely needs to take these WBC pricks out. Seriously.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 3:54pm
  33. Wait… what does this mean? “A federal jury in Baltimore awarded Snyder $11 million in damages in 2007, saying the group from Topeka, Kan., intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the family. The award was reduced to $5 million and was eventually overturned after an appeal by church group leader Fred Phelps.”

    does this mean the Snyder won $11 million? or does that mean that snyder has to PAY $11 million TO Fred Phelps?

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:46pm
  34. This makes me sick. The father should not have to pay anything. I am not for homosexuality, but if his son was gay, whatever. However, the father should NOT have to pay the people who were picketing at HIS SONS FUNERAL.

    Where is the rest of the story though? This is not the whole thing. I will go look for it. :D

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 3:36pm
  35. Those people who did this, the Phelps family, are NOT Christians. I am a Christian and I would NEVER EVER say, “Thank God for dead soldiers”. My HUSBAND is a soldier. I thank God every day for bringing them home safe and sound. I thank Him for the soldiers who are here to protect us from whatever might come.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 3:37pm
  36. i love how, in the end of the day. jesus spreads the most hate. seriously. why do they need jesus to show hate? you’ll never see one with a poster that sas “i hate you” its always. “god hates you” im glad they speak for god.

    Posted on Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 5:50pm
  37. I just don’t get it… Why is Phelps and his pathetic little band of Bible-banging Baptist bigots still alive? Why hasn’t somebody put a few well-placed bullets into the area within their crania? I’m not suggesting anybody do this. I myself, as a pacifist, of course, would never consider doing this. I’m just wondering why NOBODY has done it. Wouldn’t be that hard, would it?

    Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2010 at 10:45pm
  38. This is sick and disgusting. I am a straight christian and i support gays! What is so hard about that? The fact that this so called "christian family" did this is beyond words. Their an embarrassment to the Lord and entire religion! I hope the father doesn't have to pay them a dime.

    Posted on Friday, December 31, 2010 at 10:49am