RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court in Richmond is
considering whether an anti-gay church was protected by the First
Amendment when it protested at a soldier's funeral.
A lawyer for the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, urged the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a Maryland jury's $5 million award to the family of Matthew Snyder, a Marine who was killed in Iraq. Protesters from the church had carried signs with provocative and inflammatory messages.
An attorney for the church said the messages were grounded in the congregation's religious beliefs and were protected by the Constitution.
The Snyder family's attorney said the messages were not protected because they did not involve a matter of public concern.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)