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Dead Marine's Dad Sues Anti-Gay Pastor

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Dead Marine's Dad Sues Anti-Gay Pastor

by The Associated Press

June 3, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Baltimore, Maryland) The father of a Maryland Marine who died in Iraq plans to sue an extremist group that picketed his son's funeral, according to his lawyer.

Albert Snyder of York, Pa., the father of Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder of Westminster, will sue the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., for unspecified actual and punitive damages, according to attorney Sean Summers of York. The civil suit will claim defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Summers said he would file the suit Monday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. The plans to sue were first reported by the Carroll County Times.

Matthew Snyder, 20, died March 3 after an accident in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. The accident did not involve combat, the Defense Department said.

He was assigned to Combat Service Support Group-1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, in Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Summers said it never occurred to the elder Snyder that protesters would be at his son's funeral. "He was hoping for closure, and Mr. Snyder didn't get it," the lawyer said.

About seven members of the group picketed outside St. John Catholic Church during the Marine's funeral, carrying signs that read "Thank God for dead soldiers," "You're going to hell," and anti-gay epithets. Group members believe that American soldiers are dying because of the nation's tolerance of gay people.

Last month, Gov. Robert Ehrlich signed into law a bill that bans funeral protests that use speech likely to incite people.

©365Gay.com 2006

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