Source AP ©

Fundamentalist Baptist church pays fine for picketing military funerals

A grieving father got $2.9 million (2.01 million EUR) compensation from a fundamentalist Baptist church that pickets military funerals out of a belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality.

Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania, sued the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas for unspecified damages after members staged a demonstration at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

Church members routinely picket funerals of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, carrying signs such as "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags."

A number of states have passed laws regarding funeral protests, and the U.S. Congress has passed a law prohibiting such protests at federal cemeteries. But the Maryland lawsuit is believed to be the first filed by the family of a fallen serviceman.

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