Saying that a new Missouri law which bans picketing in front of funerals “tries to limit protesters’ free speech based on the content of their message,” the ACLU is suing Missouri on behalf of Westboro Baptist Church. The Church, whose strategy of getting their hateful message out about gays and lesbians by picketing in front of the funerals for soldiers killed in the Iraq war, has inspired the wrath of families and veterans groups nationwide.
The ACLU wants the ban declared unconstitutional. Said spokes-hag Shirley Phelps-Roper: “I told the nation, as each state went after these laws, that if the day came that they got in our way, that we would sue them. At this hour, the wrath of God is pouring out on this country.”
The ACLU is right to argue for freedom of speech, be it the Phelps clan or not. Fred Phelps’ message — that the U.S. is incurring God’s wrath because of its tolerance towards gays and lesbians — is a message that should be heard if only because it shows the world the kind of irrational bigotry the gay community faces on a daily basis and enshrines Westboro Baptist as a group of certified nutjobs.
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon says the state has no plans to cave: “We’re not going to acquiesce to anything that they’re asking for in this lawsuit.”
ACLU Sues for Anti-Gay Group That Pickets at Troops’ Burials [washington post]
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