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'God Hates Fag's' Pastor Dodging Law Attorney Says

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'God Hates Fag's' Pastor Dodging Law Attorney Says

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

August 4, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET

(York, Pennsylvania) A federal judge says Fred Phelps is avoiding a process server and has agreed to allow a lawyer to post a notice of suit on his Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka and mail of the complaint to the church.

Attorney Sean Summers, who represents the family of a Marine whose funeral was picketed by members of the church, is suing the Phelps clan for defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Snyder, 20, died March 3 after an accident in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.

About seven members of the Kansas group picketed outside St. John Catholic Church in York during the funeral, carrying signs that read "God Hates Fags", "Thank God for dead soldiers," "You're going to hell".

The church claims that American soldiers are dying because of the nation's tolerance of gay people.

The suit seeks unspecified damages.

But Summers says that he has been unable, despite more than two dozen attempts, to serve a lawsuit on members of the group, including Phelps.

In a document submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Richard Bennett, Summers listed 27 dates and times that he said he attempted to serve copies of the federal complaint.

Summers represents Snyder's family, which filed the suit.

"They know about the lawsuit. They just haven't allowed themselves to be served," said Summers.

Most members of the church are Phelps' relatives. Spokesperson Shirley Phelps-Roper denied the group was being evasive.

"If there is a person who is trying to serve us in this community, unless they're lazy, there is no reason why they shouldn't have been able to serve us," Phelps-Roper told the Associated Press. "Hello! Do you need a road map?"

Phelps and his followers first gained national notoriety when they demonstrated at the funeral of Matthew Shepherd, a young gay man murdered in 1998. Since then they have protested at churches and schools the church says support gays.

Most recently Phelps had his church have demonstrated against homosexuality at the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq leading to a number of states banning demonstrations at funerals.

©365Gay.com 2006

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