A 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10 hearing has been scheduled in U. S. District Court for a motion for a preliminary injunction against the city of Ballwin that would allow protests to be held at military funerals.
The lawsuit is one of a half-dozen filed by Shirley Phelps-Roper of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., against Missouri cities. Ms. Phelps-Roper, the sister of church pastor Fred Phelps, is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The history of these cases was outlined in a motion filed Sept. 2, 2008, in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri:
"Phelps-Roper alleges that her religious beliefs dictate that 'homosexuality is the worst of all sins and indicative of the final reprobation of an individual.' "
“Because of this belief, the motion said, "Phelps-Roper and the WBC believe that "God is punishing American for the sin of homosexuality by killing Americans, including soldiers." WBC members regularly picket outside of public buildings, churches, parks, and funerals, including the funerals of individuals who have died while serving the United States in Iraq.
“On Jan. 26, 2007, the court ruled against Ms. Phelps-Roper, but she filed an appeal and the stay was issued in February 2007 and has been in place since that time.
“The Eighth District Court of Appeals overruled the district court Dec. 19, 2007, saying the case should be reopened since there was a chance that Ms. Phelps-Roper could prevail, though the decision was careful to say it was not commenting on the Missouri law's constitutionality.”