The freedoms that the United States prides itself on came at a cost, and it continues to require a sacrifice from those members of the military and their families to protect the country. A controversy regarding the freedom of speech that has been covered recently by the media is the protests that the Westboro Baptist Church performs outside of military funerals. According to Fama (2012), “The church links the deaths of service members to America’s acceptance of gays and has a webpage full of press releases highlighting the picketing schedule of military service member funerals” (para. 11). This church group is considered a hate group by most people and highly controversial because they shout very cruel things to the families of soldiers that are being buried. This is a very touchy issue because the families of soldiers that gave their life in protecting their country are dealing with their grief as they bury their family member and are being bombarded with members of this church using their freedom of speech.
The father of one of the soldiers whose funeral was protested sued the church’s Reverend and other members, but the ruling in his favor was later overturned by the state appeals court, and he was expected to pay the court costs for the church. Others helped him to raise the money necessary to pay these court costs. Then in 2011, “[the] Supreme Court ruled decisively Wednesday that a fringe anti-gay group has a constitutionally protected right to stage hateful protests at the funerals of dead servicemen, saying ‘such speech cannot be restricted simply because it is upsetting or arouses contempt.’” (Conery, para. 1). More recently, state legislatures and even the federal government have placed restrictions on protesting outside of funerals. According to Laviana (2012),
The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 … will impose new restrictions on funeral protesters by increasing the quiet time before and after...
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