Nebraska town pays to have lawsuit dropped

Associated Press/July 27, 2010

Lincoln, Nebraska - An Omaha suburb has paid a member of a Kansas church that protests at soldiers' funerals $17,000. In exchange, Shirley Phelps-Roper has dropped her lawsuit against Bellevue.

The settlement with Westboro Baptist Church, which says troop deaths are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality, was signed last week.

The church says it shows that responding to public anger by taking action against it costs taxpayers.

City attorney Michael Polk didn't respond to a message seeking comment.

Phelps-Roper was arrested during a 2007 protest in Bellevue after she and her son allegedly mutilated the U.S. flag.

The settlement was signed the same day a federal judge, with agreement from Attorney General Jon Bruning, permanently stopped the flag-mutilation law from being enforced. They say it's unconstitutional.

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