Family awarded 2.9 million
Jury Sides With Father Of Fallen Md Marine
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
WBAL Radio as reported by Scott Wykoff and The Associated Press
A federal jury in Baltimore has ruled that a fundamentalist Kansas church was wrong to protest the funeral of a fallen Marine in Westminster .
The jury awarded $2.9 million to the family of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq . It found that the Westboro Baptist Church invaded the family's privacy and intentionally inflicted emotional distress when it picketed Snyder's funeral last year.
Members of the small church routinely picket military funerals. They argue that American soldiers are dying as punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.
A number of states have passed laws regarding funeral protests, and Congress has banned such protests at federal cemeteries. But the Maryland lawsuit is believed to be the first filed by the family of a fallen serviceman.
The $2.9 million constitutes compensatory damages to Snyder's family. The jury will deliberate punitive damages this afternoon.
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