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Fallen Marine's father says anti-gay pickets will draw gunfire

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Funeral protest ruling prompts anger
  • Father of fallen Marine warns anti-gay military funeral protests will turn violent
  • "They are going to go to the wrong funeral and the guns are going to go off," Snyder says
  • High court tossed suit filed by Albert Snyder against Westboro
  • Snyder says the experience shows "all the hatred in this country"

(CNN) -- A day after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed Westboro Baptist Church's right to protest against homosexuality at military funerals, the fallen Marine's father, who unsuccessfully sued the controversial Kansas congregation, warned that the church's protests will eventually spark violence.

"Something is going to happen," Albert Snyder told CNN Thursday. "Somebody is going to get hurt."

"You have too many soldiers and Marines coming back with post-traumatic stress syndrome, and they (the Westboro protesters) are going to go to the wrong funeral and the guns are going to go off."

"And when it does," Snyder said. "I just hope it doesn't hit the mother that's burying her child or the little girl that's burying her father or mother. It's inevitable."

In an 8-1 decision, the high court ruled Wednesday that Westboro Baptist Church has a First Amendment right to picket military funerals, no matter how "hurtful" the message may be. The decision ended Snyder's five-year court fight on behalf of his late son, Matthew, a Marine lance corporal killed in Iraq, whose funeral was picketed by Westboro church members.

Albert Snyder again slammed the high court justices for not having "the common sense that God gave a goat."

Family reacts to verdict
2010: Free speech vs. privacy
2008: Protesting Fred Phelps

"I just can't believe that there was no common sense used in this decision," Snyder said.

Because of the ruling, Snyder will have to pay $116,000 in court costs to the Rev. Fred Phelps, the pastor of Westboro.

"The worst part of this," Snyder said, "is I know they are going to use that money to do this to other soldiers."

Snyder recalled his son's funeral.

"When my son died, I knew two days ahead of time that they were coming," Snyder said. "I had other children that I had to worry about that didn't know what was going on."

"Because of (the protesters') presence, I had police coming out of the woodwork, I had sheriffs. I had a SWAT team. I had emergency vehicles. I had media coming in," Snyder said. "All I wanted to do was have a private dignified funeral for my son.

"They turned it into a three-ring circus," Snyder said.

When asked what his next step will be, Snyder replied. "The thing that just hits me the hardest is all the hatred in this country."

"And I think if I wanted to look to what I'm going to do in the future, I feel like that maybe there's where I need to be," Snyder said, "to try do something with all the hatred that's in this country."