In March of 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of the Phelps family, operating as the Westboro Baptist Church (although they have no connection to any of the Baptist denominations), to picket the funerals of American servicemen and women. The family typically carries signs proclaiming “GOD HATES FAGS” and “THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS.” The family pickets funerals in order to draw attention to their arguments that God is punishing the United States for tolerating homosexuality.
Here are several readings for you on the case:
- Washington Post: Court hears arguments on Snyder v. Phelps
- The Atlantic: Westboro Baptist Church’s Surreal Day in Court
- Washington Post: Westboro Baptist Church wins Supreme Court case for right to protest military funerals
- Excerpt from Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion in Westboro case
- Justice Samuel Alito provides sole dissent in case
- WP Editorial: Funeral protesters have a free-speech right
- Doug Gansler: Anti-gay minister shouldn’t be able to intrude on soldiers’ funerals
- WP: Motorcyclists (Patriot Guard) block funeral protestors
- A summary of Falwell v. Flynt, the case that explains the Phelps decision.
And finally, a brief video showing the Phelps family protesting at the National Mall