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Congress Puts Kibosh On Westboro's Military Funeral Protests

WestboropicketHateful Westboro Baptist Church's protests at military funerals may soon be a thing of the past. The Senate today passed an "Honoring America's Veterans" bill that includes an amendment barring protests two hours before and two hours after military funerals.

The Huffington Post offers more details:

According to "The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012," which is now headed to President Barack Obama's desk, demonstrators will no longer be allowed to picket military funerals two hours before or after a service. The bill also requires protestors to be at least 300 feet away from grieving family members.

This aspect of the legislation was introduced by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who, at the urging of a teenage constituent, proposed new limitations on military funeral demonstrations as a response to a 2011 Supreme Court case that ruled such actions were protected under the First Amendment.

The bill also expands reporting policies for sexual assaults at VA facilities, extends home loan guarantees for surviving spouses of fallen soldiers and guarantees better treatment for soldiers with severe brain injuries, according to Stars and Stripes.

Unfortunately there's no way to ban Westboro from protesting other funerals, like Elizabeth Taylor's.

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  1. Yeah, sure, Congress. Now, run that by SCOTUS. Uh, you know, the whole "snowball in hell" thing?

    Posted by: jamal49 | Aug 3, 2012 12:26:27 PM

  2. The bill is both a huge mistake and unconstitutional. It only sounds like a good idea because the Westboro bigots are so repugnant. But there are other ways to deal with them.

    We should stop elevating the military above civilian society, making separate laws that give special deference to funerals of military casualties. We are already, as a nation, just one step away from a military-dominated police state. This kind of finger-to-the-wind legislation will do more harm than good in the long run. End the police state now. While we can.

    Posted by: Bullets for Bigots | Aug 3, 2012 1:35:14 PM

  3. As Yogi Berra said once: it's deja vu all over again! Various state laws were knocked down by SCOTUS, now this too will waste everyone's time. This is similar to all the flag burning legislation and child Internet shield laws that congress kept trying to pass, over and over again until they could no longer get the energy up to try again.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 3, 2012 2:15:50 PM

  4. Just arrest their sorry asses for noise violations! If you can't hear the person presiding over the funeral, they're more than likely violating any sound ordinances. And if there isn't one, communities should put one in place, if for no other reason than to make sure that there isn't excessive noise at funerals. Plus, everyone has the freedom of speech; just because they have the right to protest DOES NOT give them the right to violate other people's right to be heard!

    Posted by: Garst | Aug 3, 2012 2:21:01 PM

  5. Westboro Baptist Church spreads its hate through picketing in our streets, provoking attacks, with abusive language and flag desecration, attempting to create a confrontation. This is not a church, this is a hate group. This is not about protesting, freedom, or God. They are in it for the money and the press; this is a family law firm. They are not a "church." It is a scam. They go after anything that can get them in the news. This is a family of lawyers using this “god hates you” thing to make money. It is time for this scam and the hate to end.

    Posted by: cb | Oct 15, 2012 8:28:31 PM

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