High Court Rules In Favor Of Military Funeral Protesters02:30
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Supporters of the Rev. Fred Phelps, of the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church, demonstrate outside the funeral service for Marine Lance Cpl. Rex Arthur Page, Sunday, July 9, 2006, in Kirksville, Mo. (AP)
Supporters of the Rev. Fred Phelps, of the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church, demonstrate outside the funeral service for Marine Lance Cpl. Rex Arthur Page, Sunday, July 9, 2006, in Kirksville, Mo. (AP)

In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who travel the country picketing military funerals.

The Reverend Fred Phelps and his family members in the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, say that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are God's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality.  The group travels to military funerals with signs containing slurs against homosexuals and messages like "Thank God for dead soldiers."

The court voted 8-1 in favor of the church, upholding an appeals court ruling that threw out a judgment that awarded $5 million to the father of a dead Marine who sued church members after they picketed his son's funeral.

We speak with Emily Bazelon of Slate.com.

This segment aired on March 2, 2011.

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