WASHINGTON - The US Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a church has the legal right to stage anti-gay protests at US military funerals to promote its claim that God is angry at America for its tolerance of homosexuality.
In a case pitting free-speech versus privacy rights, the nation's high court held that the protest messages and picketing at a private funeral were protected by the US Constitution's First Amendment.
The court's 8-1 ruling was a defeat for Albert Snyder, the father of a Marine killed in Iraq in 2006.
He had appealed to the Supreme Court after the family's funeral service at a Roman Catholic Church in Westminster, Maryland, drew unwanted protests by members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.
The protesters carried signs that stated, "God Hates You," "You Are Going To Hell," and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."