Alaska joins lawsuit against anti-gay funeral protests

Alaska Attorney General Daniel Sullivan joined AGs from 48 states and the District of Columbia in a lawsuit against the infamous "God Hates Fags" church for protesting at the funeral of a marine killed in Iraq.

The Westboro Baptist Church pickets US military funerals because they believe war deaths are God's punishment for tolerance of gays and lesbians. They have protested at more than 200 military funerals.

Albert Snyder, father of the late Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, is suing over protests the anti-gay church staged at his son's funeral in 2006.

Members of Westboro waved signs saying "God hates the USA", "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and signs with anti-gay slurs. The Snyder family sued, claiming invasion of privacy and emotional distress. A jury awarded the family more than $10 million, but they lost on appeal and were ordered to pay more than $16,000 in court costs to the church.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case in the fall and decide if the protest is protected by the First Amendment.

An amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court was filed on Tuesday by the Kansas Attorney General in support of Mr. Snyder and against Fred Phelps, the notorious leader of the Kansas-based church. The two states that did not join the suit are Maine and Virginia.

The states that signed the brief argued they have a compelling interest in protecting the sanctity of funerals.

On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also filed a brief in support of the Synder family and encouraged other senators to join him.

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