Lawyers Square Off in Federal Court Over Westboro Protests

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS — Members of the Westboro Baptist Church were in a federal appeals court on Monday, as a showdown loomed over their controversial protests at military funerals.

Members of the Topeka-based church – which consists largely of family and friends of Rev. Fred Phelps – have gained international notoriety for their funeral protests. The church believes that the deaths of U.S. military personnel are God’s punishment against the nation for the toleration of homosexuality.

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the St. Louis suburb of Manchester along with several other Missouri cities over ordinances banning the church’s protests, saying that they are political speech and protected by the First Amendment.

Lawyers for Manchester, which passed their anti-protest ordinance in 2007, say that the protests are only intended to cause emotional damage to the family and friends of dead service members, and are merely harassment – not protected speech.

The case was heard by all 11 appellate judges. There is no word on when the court will issue its final ruling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s