31
May
10

States Line Up Against Funeral Hecklers

Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia are backing the family of fallen Marine Matthew Snyder in a pending U.S. Supreme Court case that could decide the constitutionality of laws restricting protests at private family funerals.

Lance Cpl. Snyder, who was deployed to Iraq in 2006, was killed just a month later in an accident. His funeral in Maryland was disrupted by demonstrators led by Kansas pastor Fred W. Phelps, yelling, among other things, that America’s military is evil because it defends a country that tolerates homosexuality.

Snyder’s family sued, but an appeals court said the hecklers were exercising their right to free speech.

Now, all but two state attorneys general have signed a “friend of the court” brief, to be filed tomorrow, that argues the First Amendment should not apply to some “intrusive and harassing” forms of expression.

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