Man Who Fought Westboro Church in Supreme Court Comes Out to FOX45
Updated: Wednesday, April 2 2014, 05:25 PM EDT
The Westboro Baptist church protested funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The protests were offensive to many --- so offensive that one Maryland man took them to the Supreme Court.
Albert Snyder lost his case. Now he says the time is right to reveal a secret he was keeping that made those protests sting a little more.
It was during a battle in Iraq in March 2006 that 20-year-old Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder of Westminster lost his life. Two days after his son's body came back from Iraq Matthew's father Albert received a letter from the Westboro Baptist Church.
"It had Matt's picture on it and a picture of a military coffin on it and under the coffin it had a burial of an ass and them it went on to announce that they would be protesting," Albert recalled.
Snyder says his son's funeral turned into a circus.
Not only was Albert Snyder battling grief after the loss of his son there was also an internal battle - a secret that Albert kept for more than 20 years - until now.
"For 20 plus years I've lived my life as a gay man," Snyder revealed to FOX45.
He says the anti-gay protests at his son's funeral made it personal in a different way and forced him to dodge close calls.
"I gave thousands of interviews and it was like every time I gave an interview I was looking over my shoulder to make sure somebody didn't find out," Snyder said.
As he continued to fight for justice by taking the Westboro Church all the way to the Supreme Court Snyder says he did not want to make this fight a gay issue.
"This was about what a very sick group of people were doing to the American military," Snyder said.
Snyder says he has reached a point where it feels right to "come out."
"I just think it's time," Snyder said. "I think it was time to let people know on top of everything else I was going through I had to deal with this too."
Although he lost his case in the Supreme Court Snyder says he won another battle.
"I don't care anymore what people think of me anymore," Snyder said. "I know who I am --- I'm a good person and I know my God made me this way."