I like my headline a lot more than CNN's headline on the subject. There's stated "Supreme Court rules for anti-gay church over military funeral protests" You know why I don't like that title? Because it is turning the subject around to a.) make the courts look homophobic and intolerant b.) make freedom of speech something dirty and wrong.
I like to talk a lot about how the Religious Right is happy with freedom of speech and religion...as long as it's only free for those who think and act the same way they do. The truth is though, that the Liberal Left has the same issue. Freedom of speech is fine and dandy, until someone's freedom of speech starts stepping on liberal toes.
Do I like WBC? No...hell no, in fact. Do I support their right to free speech? Yes, grudgingly. Why? Because when you start curtailing one person's freedom of speech, where does it end? I very much believe that, if there is a hell, the members of Westboro Baptist will burn in it. But, sadly they do have the right to speak their mind.
As Cheir Justice John Roberts wrote, about the decision.
"Westboro believes that America is morally flawed; many Americans might feel the same about Westboro. Westboro's funeral picketing is certainly hurtful and its contribution to public discourse may be negligible," he said. However, "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."
On the other side of that, we who disagree with them have the right to organize counter protests and tell them that they are wrong. We can stand up for the people they try to put down and support them through their hard times, whether that is the passage of laws to allow gay marriage or protecting the families of dead soldiers from having to actually deal with these morons.
The court did suggest that states implement laws preventing ANY protestors to come closer than 1,000 feet of funerals, which is something I consider reasonable. In my town, that's about 2 city blocks. And, let's face it, WBC isn't exactly the biggest organization. I've never heard of a single protest they had that wasn't faced with a counter protest at least twice as large in numbers than theirs. They aren't going to win and, in the end, their despicable words and actions may be what pushes folks over the line to support gay rights...simply because they can't stand to have the same mind set as the people of Phelps' church.