updated 2/5/2008 10:25:36 AM ET 2008-02-05T15:25:36

A federal judge has reduced by more than half the amount of damages that a fundamentalist Kansas church must pay to the father of a Marine who was killed in Iraq.

The Westboro Baptist Church and three of its members, who picket military funerals out of a belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality, must pay Albert Snyder damages of $5 million for emotional distress and invasion of privacy, U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett ruled Monday. The original jury award in October was $10.9 million.

Bennett's ruling cited the need to weigh any harm Snyder suffered against the financial resources of the church.

Snyder sued the Topeka, Kan., church after a 2006 demonstration at the Maryland funeral of his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. He claimed the demonstration intruded upon what should have been a private ceremony and sullied his memory of the event.

A jury agreed, and in October found the church and three of its leaders — Fred Phelps and his two daughters, Shirley Phelps-Roper and Rebekah Phelps-Davis — liable for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress.

The church's appeal of the verdict is still pending.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments