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Goddard Joins Supreme Court Brief Against Demonstrations at Military Funerals and Calls on Legislature to Act

(Phoenix, Ariz. - May 29, 2010) Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that his office will join the multi-state amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court Case of Snyder v. Phelps. The brief opposes protests at military funerals and supports the family of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

“We must respect our military families and support our fallen soldiers,” Goddard stated. “I call on the Legislature to do what’s right and pass a Military Funerals law that protects the honor we owe to our fallen soldiers. We must do everything possible to respect those who give their lives to fight for our freedom.”

More than 40 States have enacted “funeral picketing” or “funeral protest” statutes that regulate the conduct at issue in this case, but Arizona has not.

In Snyder v. Phelps, the United States Supreme Court will review the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that reversed a judgment against the Westbro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, whose members have protested over 200 military funerals around the nation. The family of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder sued the Westbro Baptist Church for intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy. The Fourth Circuit Court reversed the judgment because it concluded that the First Amendment protected the defendants’ actions.

“I am very proud to be joining in this national effort supporting these principles. And, call on our Legislature to enact a law that protects the privacy that our military families deserve at a time of grief,” Goddard said.