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Court backs military funeral protests, some veterans dismayed +survey

Mar 3, 2011 12:13:00 AM - thestate.com
Veterans found it hard Wednesday to square the Supreme Court’s ruling in Snyder v. Phelps with the constitutional right that they swore — and for which many have given their lives — to protect.

The court’s ruling that the controversial Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., was exercising its right to free speech when it conducted anti-gay protests at military funerals left many feeling betrayed.

“We fought for the right to freedom of speech, but we need to strike a balance between protecting free speech and protecting grieving families,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a support group.

Military families and their advocates were disheartened.

“It is a sad moment for families of America’s fallen military,” said Ami Neiberger-Miller, a spokeswoman for TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, an emotional-support group for military families.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)