Father told to pay protesters' court costs

March 30, 2010 at 11:32 AM
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YORK, Pa., April 2 (UPI) -- An appeals court ruled a Pennsylvania man must pay court costs in his lawsuit against church protesters who picketed the funeral of his son who died in Iraq.

Attorneys for Al Snyder said the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered him to pay more than $16,000 in court costs for the Westboro Baptist Church, the Topeka, Kan., church that maintains combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are divine retribution for America's tolerance of homosexuality, WGAL-TV, Lancaster, Pa., reported Tuesday.

The funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, 20, who died in March 2006 in Iraq, was one of many funerals picketed by the followers of church founder Fred Phelps. Church members have promoted an anti-homosexual agenda with provocative demonstrations outside funerals of service personnel killed in combat, chanting and carrying signs with messages such as "Thank God For Dead Soldiers."

The elder Snyder sued the protesters and was awarded $5 million in damages for invasion of privacy and emotional distress, the York (Pa.) Daily Record said. But the appeals court in September overturned the decision on First Amendment free-speech arguments.

Earlier in March, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

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