A US judge has upheld a ruling against the notorious homophobe Rev. Fred Phelps for picketing at a marine’s funeral, but has reduced the payout to the victimised family.
Phelps, along with his two daughters Shirley Phelps-Roper and Rebecca Phelps-Davis, was again found guilty of invading the privacy of Albert Snyder by protesting at his son’s funeral in 2006.
Phelp’s Westboro Baptist Church has gained much media attention because of its picketing at the funerals of US soldiers killed in combat because it claims that their deaths are punishment by god for the country’s tolerance of homosexuality. It has also staged protests at the funerals of people who have died from AIDS related illnesses.
Most recently, the church, which runs the site Godhatesfags.com, threatened to protest at the funeral and memorial services of the late actor Heath Ledger because he starred in the gay romance movie, Brokeback Mountain.
Snyder was originally awarded a total of almost $11 million by a jury, but on appeal Judge Richard D. Bennett halved the punitive damages portion of the payout from $6 million to $2.1 million.
The Westboro Baptist Church has said that it will appeal the new ruling.