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US Supreme Court allows ‘God Hates Fags’ funeral protests

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  1. Oh look, christians being b@stards again. How many stories is that so far this week? (and it is only bloody Wednesday!)

    The WBC grift rolls on.

  2. It’s a pity the US government don’t do a Waco style ambush and whack these freaks off the face of the earth!

    1. …if American gays weren’t such wimps, this would have been dealt with a long time ago. It’s time this shower were given a quick ticket to meet their pixie in the sky, although the other Dude would have a better claim to them.

      1. I agree would never happen at a funeral i attended without an incident

      2. “…if American gays weren’t such wimps, this would have been dealt with a long time ago.”

        Wimps? Daniel Choi, Cleve Jones, Dan Savage—they might be wimps in your opinion, but not mine.

  3. They would be a joke if they weren’t so cruel to the families of deceased soldiers – how can Christians justify such wickedness whatever their views on homosexuality?

  4. Ian Bower 2 Mar 2011, 4:50pm

    @Carl
    ‘how can Christians justify such wickedness whatever their views on homosexuality?’
    They can, they do and are we suprised?
    Nope!
    The word Christian now sends a shudder through me.

    1. do genuine Christians who believe in love and tolerance and understanding ever get a chance to be heard over the extremiasts?

      1. Rose, yes, as long as they speak their truth and don’t hide behind fear of being grouped with those extremists.

  5. These people, like those who have religious faith are mentally ill, for religious faith is a mental illness,

    1. Galadriel1010 3 Mar 2011, 3:30pm

      You know, they say the same about you. And you’re both saying it about me.

      (Gay. Christian. Proud.)

  6. Tom Stoppard 2 Mar 2011, 5:41pm

    More evidence that the US is falling behind other countries. At this rate, it’s going to have more in common than certain African states than the more enlightened parts of the world.

  7. Who cares about their idiotic protests,
    God Hates The Westboro Baptist Church
    Whatever!

  8. @Tom Stoppard

    The First Amendment of our country is very simple – speech is protected. The same amendment that allows you to criticize the US also protects their right to protest. Other countries could learn a lot from that. Canada has awful free speech protections for example and have made some pretty disturbing decisions recently.

    Disagree with these wingnuts all you want – their rights are as protected as any citizen and I’m glad this was overwhelmingly voted in favor of the defendants.

    1. the same first amendment gives everyone else the right to protest against these nutcases in a dignified manner that shows them up for what they are.

    2. If the First Amendment were really that simple, then why was compensation originally awarded to the father of the deceased soldier against the WB Church?

      Freedom of speech is extremely important in European countries too, but there are nuances and exceptions especially where incitement to hatred is concerned. If the USA’s constitution protects the “right” to host hostile picketing at funerals with hate-filled placards, then it needs some urgent re-writing.

      1. travshad@yahoo.com 2 Mar 2011, 10:10pm

        The original courts erred in their judgments. The Supreme Court reversed the decision. Lower courts are often overturned by the Supreme Court, that is the way the system is set up to work. The WBC may say incredibly vile things at the most inappropriate times imaginable, but unless the speech will likely cause imminent lawless action or is slander, it would be almost always protected by the Court.

    3. “…Canada has awful free speech protections for example and have made some pretty disturbing decisions recently…”

      Linky?

    4. Jock S. Trap 3 Mar 2011, 7:59am

      I strongly suspect that speech in this case is only protected because it is about religion. I bet had it been any in the LGBT community doing the same against religion the outcome would be a very different story.

      Just plain backward. Mind you I’m personally not surprised I’ve been to the US…. Never again!!

      Canada… lovely place, lovely people… been back many times.

      Though the UK still rules!! :)

    5. I wonder if Americans would not surely be able to grasp the point if this uncondition protection of the First Amendment was related to, say, a collection of fundie Muslims demanding their freedom of speech to hold a victory rally at Ground Zero on September 11th?

    6. Dr Robin Guthrie 3 Mar 2011, 11:43am

      It would be interesting to see if you still felt the same if they were picketing your dead child’s funeral!

      1. Jock S. Trap 3 Mar 2011, 2:36pm

        Well of course that would be different!

  9. They seem to be a lot more protected than the thousands who lost their jobs under McCarthy for thought crimes let alone speech crimes. Has the law protecting free speech only just happened then?

    1. …nah…America is still in thrall to the Xtians. Over 60% of Americans still believe in the whole religious fantasy thing which is why their country is going down the tubes rapidly. The whole place is a paradox. on the one hand thousands are murdered every day by both citizens and the state and on the other churches are full on a Sunday. Go figure.

  10. Christine Beckett 2 Mar 2011, 6:29pm

    One day someone is going to get killed because of this bunch.

    But that doesn’t matter, as the First Amendment is sacred and far more important than the dignity, peace of mind, and security of one’s citizens.

    How many Americans have died over the last couple of hundred years because of the slavish, unthinking dogmatism with which the courts uphold the First and Second Amendments?

    Hey… America. Time and civilisation have moved on. It’s now the 21st Century, not the 18th…!!

    chrissie
    xxxx

    1. Great comment!

  11. Isn’t the second amendment the right to bear arms – since this is also a protected constitutional right can someone send in a grizzly bear next time to attack WBC at the next protest with its flailing bear arms?
    I live in hope…

    1. friday jones 2 Mar 2011, 11:56pm

      2 Kings 2:
      23 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.

      And that’s why it’s OK to sic bears on the WBC, it;s even in the Bible and stuff.

  12. This is a disgrace to the Christian church. It pains me to see believers act in such an un-Christlike way, and I hope that others realize that most Christians don’t feel this way at all.

    1. “…I hope that others realize that most Christians don’t feel this way at all.”

      I do. Blinkered Bible-abusers like the W.B.C. etc represent the true spirit Christianity about as much as some lascivious clown in ass-less chaps represents the gay community at large.

    2. Amen, Bethany, and those of us who believe in love and compassion, and not singling out one group to blame the ills of the world on need to proclaim our truths loud and clear.

      (Christian, gay and reconciled with God.)

      1. Galadriel1010 3 Mar 2011, 3:33pm

        +1

  13. David in Indy 2 Mar 2011, 7:15pm

    “…if American gays weren’t such wimps, this would have been dealt with a long time ago. It’s time this shower were given a quick ticket to meet their pixie in the sky, although the other Dude would have a better claim to them.”

    It is comments like this that make me realize that not only am I hated for being gay in my own country but also hated by the rest of the world for being an American. Thanks for the epiphany, Although trust me, I have plenty of them each day without your help and elightenment.

    Apparently we’ve disappointed and angered you. Sorry about that. But American LGBTs make up roughly 5 percent of this country’s population. And you seem to think we are “wimpy” because we haven’t managed to squash all the various hate groups in the country (according to the Southern Poverty Law Center there are over 1000 of them), rewritten the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and changed the beliefs of a hundred million or so religious zealots.

    And yes, we HAVE been protesting.

    1. @ David in Indy…….. are there a couple of gay soldiers with a terminal disease who could be recruited to give The Phelps filth a helping hand to their “hereafter”. They are so in thrall to their pixie in the sky fantasy that they would probably welcome a speedy journey outta this bad ole flat world.

      1. Very interesting comment, Boston.
        I often thought if I ever was terminally ill that I would be happy to entertain such thoughts……
        However after being diagnosed recently with terminal cancer…..I find that I have far too much to deal with to have any anger towards imbeciles such as these people.
        That is probably the same reason the families of the dead whose funerals they picket, don’t react as well…..

  14. Fred Phelps is a scam artist. He’ll go away only if *everyone* ignores him. Because this is how they make money.

    http://kanewj.com/wbc/

  15. Ask the same court if they’d allow racist picketings and protests as a first ammendment right … substitute the F with the N word, etc ….

    1. Yes, obvious to us, isn’t it? Hang on, let the U.S. governemnt know that ALL gays in ALL the world hold oil rights. Then we’ll see…..

    2. Difference is the N’s would literally kill them and they know that

  16. martyn notman 2 Mar 2011, 8:34pm

    Hopefully one of the soldiers familes will pull out a big gun and wipe the lot of them out. Probably the granma of the family this being US of A…

  17. Civilised countries have anti-hate laws. Its a pity that the human race continues to support people who clearly are mentally deficient, who believe in imaginary beings and enjoy repressing others…

  18. The Heretic Philosopher 2 Mar 2011, 11:26pm

    What about a persons right to respect for their private and family life? Surely a funeral comes under that? I’m all for freedom of thought, conscience and religion but what these people do does trample on other peoples rights, choices and freedoms. What about them?

  19. I’m no American, but I find the ruling to be counter-intuitive. Yes, America’s laws mean that freedom of speech is meant to be guaranteed.

    Yet the US has libel and defamation laws too. If the right to absolute free speech is not guaranteed in the case of libel, then clearly it opens a door to other exceptions being made.

    Freedom of speech should not give people the right to harass. What about the rights of the family of dead soldiers? Such protests are designed with the intent of causing distress. Does the family not have a right to conduct their lives without actions which amount to bullying?

    One step back for the US.

  20. I agree with the ruling. This is the acid test of free speech – defending it even when it’s incredibly offensive.

    Some highlights:

    “The picketing was conducted under police supervision some 1,000 feet from the church, out of the sight of those at the church. The protest was not unruly; there was no shouting, profanity, or violence.”

    “Westboro’s funeral picketing is certainly hurtful and its contribution to public discourse may be negligible. But Westboro addressed matters of public import on public property, in a peaceful manner, in full compliance with the guidance of local officials.”

    “Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and – as it did here – inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker. As a Nation we have chosen a different course – to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”

    1. The rhetoric in the judgment is a joke.

      “Addressed matters of public import”. What? The question of whether the supposed Almighty All-Knowing Creator of the Universe Past, Present and Future chooses to arbitarily punish a country by killing its soldiers for harbouring people he purposefully made gay so he could throw them in a specially designed eternal torture chamber named Hell? If that’s not insane I don’t know what is, and it’s treated as a legitimate question by a Supreme Court Justice? America has serious problems.

  21. It would be really good to book our protests now, complete with placards, to attend the funerals of the Judges or any of their family members and give them the treatment that is dished out by the ‘Gods hate Fags’ Church. Might be a different story for the judges though, they would probably get taxpayer funded CIA/FBI security?

  22. I don’t even get why there should be any ‘debate’? It’s just a way to cover for homophobia! Heterosexuality has never been debated or made to feel inferior etc

  23. Jock S. Trap 3 Mar 2011, 7:45am

    That such disrepect can be allowed when burying people is beyond words. Such hate shows up religion for what it truely is. I hope in this case counter demos grow much bigger.

    The fact a country would openly protect such an hateful organisation says a lot about That country and how they treat their dead.

    It doesn’t matter how distressing it is to loose a loved one and bury them so long as religion is protected to guarantee to make things even worse.

    Only a low-life country would accept this. Thankfully here in the UK we are little more on the side of humaity.

  24. Disagree with homosexuality all you want….but to protest at a funeral is freedom of speech? A time people are mouring the loss of human life. I’m sorry but that is just….un-christian. But then again how would they get in the papers if they didn’t do that? Did you that woman been interviewed when Anonymous shut them down? She’s just slightly on this side of sanity!

    1. @Paul – are you talking about this one?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZJwSjor4hM
      Loved watching her tell Anonymous that WBC was invincible only to have it disproved live on air!

    2. Paul, you’re too kind – I’d mark her down as WAY into insanity. Did you notice her constant inane grin during that? And her assertion that god invented the internet to allow the WBC to spread their message??!! Loony of the first degree.

      But more than that, that interview clearly shows what a bully she is. Like all bullies, this stems from a lack of self-worth. She really hates HERSELF but she’s too scared to examine that so she compensates by viciously denigrating other people – and, disgustingly, seems to take pleasure in it.

      1. Jock S. Trap 3 Mar 2011, 10:53am

        I thought that bit about the internet being invented by God was hilarious I have to admit.

        What a horrid person though. The attitude, the rudeness. I do feel sorry for liberal Christians because it’s this that people see and relate Christianity to. Its why if liberal Christians feel the WBC way is wrong in the way it acts they need to visibly show it. Not to would show they support not oppose.

        1. Galadriel1010 3 Mar 2011, 3:42pm

          We’re doing what we can, and you’ll probably find christians in the counter protests, but there’s a horrible wave within the gay rights movement that thinks that gay rights have to be gained at the expense of religious rights; I don’t just mean in the B&B and fostering cases, either, but from people who think that christians shouldn’t be allowed to foster children full stop, even if they’re the most tolerant, brilliant parents in the world. It can be quite threatening at times.

          1. Sorry, you’re wrong. The Christians have set this agenda – they want to maintain their ‘ancient’ right to discriminate against gay people.

            They also want to get their hands on as many impressionable and vulnerable young people as they can to pervert them with their corrupt ideologies.

            When they renounce their discrimination and stop indoctinating our young with their hurtful oppression we can all be friends again. Simple.

          2. Jock S. Trap 9 Mar 2011, 1:54pm

            Why do Christians think that religious rights trump equality?

            No one thinks gay rights have to be gained at the expense of religious rights. We do think its time Christians accepted the law of the land and stop used their own excuses to discriminate.

            Natural human rights of how people are born should always be way above chosen rights in particularly a chosen lifestyle like Christianity and other religions.

            It’s simple really, follow the law or don’t but you have no instant right to be above it!

        2. Galadriel1010 5 Mar 2011, 12:49pm

          Further to my comment, it’s because of people like Phillip that more christians don’t turn out in support of gay rights.

          1. Jock S. Trap 9 Mar 2011, 1:55pm

            Well isn’t that a surprise….. Not!!

  25. de Villiers 3 Mar 2011, 11:57am

    I have no issue with many elements of personal religion and disagree with much of how religion is mischaracterised as being “pixie in the sky”. However, religion is a personal matter and shared space should be governed by secularity.

    Insofar as these protests are concerned, the issue of freedom of expression is only the first step. Such a right does not exist in a vacuum in order to allow all unpleasant and defamatory behaviour.

    The exercise of this freedom carries within it duties and responsibilities. It can and should be subject to conditions as are necessary in a democracy in the interests of national security, public safety or the prevention of crime or disorder.

    The United States, as with other things, takes a liberté sauvage approach and appears to perform little balancing exercise. In nearly every other European country, this protest would not be permitted. I would doubt that countries such as the UK and France are materially less “free” than the United States.

    1. Galadriel1010 3 Mar 2011, 3:44pm

      The UK denied them entry as hate criminals, I believe. Which is a shame, because they were only planning to send a couple of people over, and a few thousand of us were looking forwards to having a good party and drowning them out.

      1. Jock S. Trap 9 Mar 2011, 1:57pm

        Good to see the UK taking sensible precautions them!

  26. de Villiers 3 Mar 2011, 11:59am

    I have no issue with many elements of personal religion and disagree with much of how religion is mischaracterised as being “pixie in the sky”. However, religion is a personal matter and shared space should be governed by secularity.

    Insofar as these protests are concerned, the issue of freedom of expression is only the first step. Such a right does not exist in a vacuum in order to allow all unpleasant and defamatory behaviour.

    The exercise of this freedom carries within it duties and responsibilities. It can and should be subject to conditions as are necessary in a democracy in the interests of national security, public safety or the prevention of crime or disorder.

    The United States, as with other things, takes a liberté sauvage approach and appears to perform little balancing exercise. In nearly every other European country, this protest would not be permitted. I would doubt that countries such as the UK and France are materially less “free” than the United States.

    1. As much as I love France, I’m afraid I’m hopelessly American when it comes to stuff like this.

      The decision affirms the right of Westboro to protest, and the right of communities to regulate their protests. So long as the protests are peaceful and in compliance with the law, which typically keeps them a reasonable distance from the funeral, their speech is protected. Sounds like a sensible balance to me.

      The Phelps are loathsome, but there are bigger things at stake here. It would be foolish to weaken one of the bedrock principles of our society just for the temporary gratification of sticking it to a group of people we don’t like. The Phelps clan are an insignificant little sideshow, and they’ll be nothing more than a sidebar in a textbook on abnormal psychology someday, but any damage we do to our core freedoms because of them will be with us for a long time.

      1. de Villiers 3 Mar 2011, 11:56pm

        I appreciate that our views upon this matter differ. However, purely to observe, this ‘bedrock’ exists in no other country in the West and certainly not in the European Union. I cannot see that France, the UK or the EU are suffering from long-term damage as a consequence.

  27. Julia Roberts 3 Mar 2011, 3:20pm

    For anyone that in interested the contact information for the WBC can be found on this website.

    http://westborobaptistchurch.weebly.com

    1. Jock S. Trap 9 Mar 2011, 2:00pm

      erm..

      God Hates WBC!!

  28. So Yoshi, if a group like that were to call for the killing of Jews or Blacks, that would be acceptable? The American freedom of speech issue is hypocritical when you can’t even shout “fire” in a theater or other public edifice. In fact, issuing death threats to an American politician is not permitted either. You either have total freedom of speech or you don’t. The Westboro gang incite violence against gays when they spew “god hates fags”. I wonder how that would pan out if they said “god hates blacks or jews or death to the president?

  29. Mark Farrugia 3 Mar 2011, 7:41pm

    Is it the same God we believe in? Not sure. God is love

  30. I’m looking forward to that victory parade at Ground Zero to give the First Amendment a real stress test.

    In fact, rather than a muslim one, as suggested above, why not have Fred and his crew do it. Would he dare?

  31. As much as I hate that church, I have to agree with the ruling. The first amendment is a double-edged sword.

  32. Valksy. Dont let them fool you. These people are NOT Christians. They dont even know the meaning of the word.

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