We're happy to see that Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has joined a "friend of the court" brief in Supreme Court case involving military funeral protests.

On behalf of Pennsylvania, Corbett has joined 47 states and the District of Columbia in a "friend of the court" legal brief to the United States Supreme Court in support of a York County father who filed suit against protestors who demonstrated at his son's military funeral.

"It is important that we protect our communities against individuals or groups who attempt to use private funerals as a tool to launch vile and disturbing psychological attacks, for their own gain," Corbett said. "The sanctity and privacy of funerals is a unique and long-standing tradition that should be guarded against targeted efforts to harass and terrorize innocent mourners and grieving families."

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a case involving Albert Snyder, who sued Fred W. Phelps Sr. and other members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church after they picketed at the 2006 funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq. Members of the church have demonstrated at military funerals across the country, claiming that the deaths of soldiers are a form of punishment for American attitudes toward homosexuality.

Many daily newspapers in this country, including The TIMES NEWS, receive press releases from the Westboro Baptist Church several times a week. The messages they send are vile, vulgar, and obscene.

They are filled with hate and they pose a threat to innocent families who are going through an emotional and heartbreaking time. Burying a son, daughter, husband or wife who gave their lives so that people like those members of Westboro Baptist Church can exercise their First Amendment right and spew their venom, is the toughest thing a loved one ever has to do.

We hope the Supreme Court sides with the families and disallows military funeral protests. Westboro can exercise its rights to free speech on its own turf. But stay away from the sanctity of a funeral.

You don't belong there, regardless of your convictions.

Bob Urban

rurban@tnonline.com