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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 2/7/2006 4:39:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/7/2006 4:45:18 AM EDT by fireguy]
It's about time.

Link

COLUMBUS, Ohio - States are rushing to limit when and where people may protest at funerals — all because of a small Kansas church whose members picket soldiers' burials, arguing that Americans are dying for a country that harbors homosexuals.



During the 1990s, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., went around picketing the funerals of AIDS victims with protest signs that read, "God Hates Fags." But politicians began paying more attention recently when church members started showing up at the burials of soldiers and Marines killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Legislation is being considered in at least 14 states, and several of the bills moving quickly, with backing from legislative leaders and governors.
If they pass, the bills could set up a clash between privacy and free speech rights, and court challenges are almost certain.

"We're not proposing to silence the speech of the Westboro Baptist Church, as offensive as most of us find that," said Kansas Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, a Republican. Instead, he said, he is trying to achieve a balance that respects "the rights of families to bury their dead in peace."

The church has about 75 members, most of them belonging to the extended family of Westboro Baptist's pastor, the Rev. Fred Phelps. The church is an independent congregation that preaches a literal reading of the Bible.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, Phelps' daughter and an attorney for the church, said states cannot interfere with their message that the soldiers were struck down by God because they were fighting for a country that harbors homosexuals and adulterers.

Lawmakers are "trying to introduce something that will make them feel better about the holes we're punching in the facade they live under," Phelps-Roper said. "If they pass a law that gets in our way, they will be violating the Constitution, and we will sue them for that."
Among the states considering such measures: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Some of the bills specify noisy, disruptive behavior or signs with "fighting words," as in Wisconsin. Some bar protests within one or two hours before or after a funeral starts; others specify distances ranging from 10 car lengths to five blocks away; some include both.

Violations can bring fines of a few hundred dollars, up to 30 days in jail, or more. Wisconsin is calling for fines of up to $10,000; one of five Oklahoma bills would set a one-year jail sentence.

Missouri's bill was named for Army Spc. Edward Lee Myers, 21, whose wife went to his funeral an hour early to try to avoid protesters. They were already across the road, holding signs that read "God Hates Fags" and "God Made IEDs," a reference to roadside bombs.
Her 5-year-old son kept asking why "mean people" were outside, undercover agents were in the church, and she worried that angry relatives might start a fight.

"I couldn't even pay my last respects because of everything that was going on," Jean Myers said.

Legislation against funeral protests was also introduced in West Virginia last month after a small knot of protesters from Westboro Baptist demonstrated outside a memorial for the 12 men killed in the Sago Mine disaster. The protesters held signs reading, "Thank God for Dead Miners," "God Hates Your Tears" and "Miners in Hell," arguing that the miners' deaths were a sign of God's wrath at America for tolerating gays.

"It's just inhuman for a group that says it's coming in the name of the Lord to protest a funeral," said state Delegate Jeff Eldridge, a co-sponsor of the West Virginia bill.

If such restrictions are challenged, the courts will probably look to rulings on laws governing abortion protests, constitutional scholars said.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Florida ban on peaceful picketing within 300 feet of an abortion clinic, but allowed restrictions on behavior that impedes access to a clinic. However, the courts have allowed restrictions on picketing in front of doctors' houses, saying privacy trumps free speech.

The question is whether a church, funeral home or cemetery is considered private or public during a ceremony, said Eugene Volokh, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:41:17 AM EDT
We don't need to make it illegal.

We just need for LE to turn a blind eye when the group beats the piss out of protestors...

Respect.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:45:17 AM EDT
Make it punishable by death.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:54:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/7/2006 5:27:38 AM EDT by ByteTheBullet]
I heard about these guys in NPR(know your enemy) last nite, it really pisses me off. They said they will be protesting at the King funeral today. There is a small group of ex-military bikers that have been trying to help take this trash out. I am not sure if it the same family as in the article, but the military widow in the radio interview was pretty shaken up. It doesn't seem to matter to Rev. Phelps if the family or the deceased was gay, he was still yelling that she would burn in hell just like her husband. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?

Oh, it was mentioned that if laws were passed to block protesters that 'legitimate' protesters, like Cindy Shehan, wouldn't get to get her message out, which is free speech. Whatever(about Cindy).

A funeral, no matter who the deceased is, is no place for loud mouth protesters. It is just not right. If you disagree with them, don't fucking go to their funeral.


ByteTheBullet (-:
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:59:01 AM EDT
Maybe we should wait for some members of their little group to meet with an ...Ahem... [cough, cough] untimely demise.

Then we could picket their funeral.

"Satan welcomes you"

"We are glad you are dead"

"I hope your miserable family rots in hell, too"

"I wish you would have died sooner"

I'll make the signs.

Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:05:00 AM EDT
They are protesting in this matter because they get noticed. The press pays attention to them and the protestors want people to confront them and get angry. I hate these mo-fos as much as any one, but they just need to be ignored. If people would ignore them, and the press stopped covering them, and no one confronted them they would go away on their own. I want to beat the snot out of these guys really badly, but that's what they want. What they don't want is to be ignored.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:06:17 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:08:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Triumph955i:
We don't need to make it illegal.

We just need for LE to turn a blind eye when the group beats the piss out of protestors...

Respect.



+10000
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:11:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By guardian855:
They are protesting in this matter because they get noticed. The press pays attention to them and the protestors want people to confront them and get angry. I hate these mo-fos as much as any one, but they just need to be ignored. If people would ignore them, and the press stopped covering them, and no one confronted them they would go away on their own. I want to beat the snot out of these guys really badly, but that's what they want. What they don't want is to be ignored.



I agree with what you are saying, but why should even one military widow and family be subjected to this crap? They are targeting any high profile funeral also. I feel that they will feel a different flavor of wrath if they continue too much longer. They will show up at the wrong funeral.


ByteTheBullet (-:
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:13:37 AM EDT
Oh, listening to this guy on the radio reminded me of the 'Grizzly Man'. Seriously, it was eerie.


ByteTheBullet (-:
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:13:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:
These idiots really need to be lined up in front of a wall with cigarettes and blindfolds. The hell with making it illegal so they can sue over it, drag 'em all in for mental health evaluations everytime, stamp "Crazy" on their heads and toss em in a psych ward.




Or, some enterprising young soul who lost a family member in a war or a mine or something can sneak an IED into their church while their all in one place.

I wouldn't shed a single tear.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:19:23 AM EDT
They are going to have to be careful how they do it, or no matter how well meaning it is, it isn't going to get past the courts. I think the way to go is to define the law in the sense of protecting the service and there-by make it an offense to protest in a way that can be seen or heard from any venue of the funeral. Otherwise they are free to be asses whereever they want. Something akin to other noise restrictions.

I think the more effective solution would be to have them SERIOUSLY beaten down in the street and for the cops to just stand and watch..... in a perfect world. [sigh]
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:24:46 AM EDT
Every state that does it(wisconsin is looking to do it too) will see thier law challanged in court as a violation of the 1st amendment.


What they are doing is disrespectful, but it is a legitimate exercise of the 1st amendment, however unpopular that view may be around here.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:26:18 AM EDT
Illegal?

They may be cocksuckers, but it's still free speech.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:28:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By photoman:
What they are doing is disrespectful, but it is a legitimate exercise of the 1st amendment, however unpopular that view may be around here.




Their rights end when they begin infringing upon the rights of others.

If we can kill children under the rubric of "privacy" and ban protesters from abortion clinics under the guise of "protecting the right to exercise a right", then we can damn well protect the right of a family to some privacy when they bury a loved one.

I, for one, am getting pretty sick and fucking tired of "rights" being defined and protected only for the lowest behaviors, but not for the noble ones.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:37:24 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:11:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:

I think their church was burned. I am not sure but I think that was around the time they switched from just targetting homosexuals to going after people in the military. I cannot imagine a mentally competent person being involved in this.




<--- Tearless.


I normally am not one to put myself in the place of the Almighty, but I seriously doubt that the Lord looks kindly upon these............. "people".
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:21:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/7/2006 6:21:44 AM EDT by Spade]

Originally Posted By Zaphod:


I normally am not one to put myself in the place of the Almighty, but I seriously doubt that the Lord looks kindly upon these............. "people".




Yeah. Christ told us about false prophets coming in his name. False prophets are found in many religions too. That's were Phleps fits into the world.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:24:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Triumph955i:
We don't need to make it illegal.
We just need for LE to turn a blind eye when the group beats the piss out of protestors...
Respect.



I'd rather that as well. I'd go out of my way to find funerals.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 7:07:39 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Originally Posted By photoman:
What they are doing is disrespectful, but it is a legitimate exercise of the 1st amendment, however unpopular that view may be around here.




Their rights end when they begin infringing upon the rights of others.

If we can kill children under the rubric of "privacy" and ban protesters from abortion clinics under the guise of "protecting the right to exercise a right", then we can damn well protect the right of a family to some privacy when they bury a loved one.

I, for one, am getting pretty sick and fucking tired of "rights" being defined and protected only for the lowest behaviors, but not for the noble ones.



They are not infinging the rights of anyone, what "right" is being infinged by them? None. Like I said I don't agree with what they are doing but it will be challanged on free speach grounds and they probably will win. Now these communities where it's happening could go out and charge them with DC. In wisconsin that wouldn't work though. U.S. Supreme Court ZWICKER v. BOLL, 391 U.S. 353 (1968) 391 U.S. 353. Here we wouldn't be able to get them on disorderly conduct(though they can for open carry go figure) because they can't enforce the DC statute just because the reason for the "protest" is an unpopular view. So again it is and will be faought as a 1st amendment issue and they will probably win it. The only way to do it is to mandate a spesific disatance that they muststay form the funerals, thats what wisconsin's law is going to focus on. You can't say that you can't do X, but you can say you can't do X within XXXft/yards whatever of a funeral or something like that.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 11:14:24 AM EDT


Oh, it was mentioned that if laws were passed to block protesters that 'legitimate' protesters, like Cindy Shehan, wouldn't get to get her message out, which is free speech. Whatever(about Cindy).




We buried Sheehan's kid, she gave no indication at the time of her future career.

We later buried about a year later another KIA in the same cemetary, about three days after we did one in a nearby cemetrary with protestors (Hired by the hearse driver, would you believe, later got beaten up), we expected something, but nobody showed up that we noticed. That said, the local PD were present to keep an eye on things, if anything happened, we didn't see it.

NTM
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:52:46 PM EDT
You can't say that you can't do X, but you can say you can't do X within XXXft/yards whatever of a funeral or something like that.

something around a few miles maybe.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:55:35 PM EDT
Andrew Napolitano on FOX said that the supreme court will most likely find the laws unconstitutional
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:56:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By photoman:
They are not infinging the rights of anyone, what "right" is being infinged by them? None.



Right to privacy, which is the right not to have their loved ones' funeral turned into a spectacle.

I'm sure they can get a permit to voice their opinions down at the local landfill.


The only way to do it is to mandate a spesific disatance that they muststay form the funerals, thats what wisconsin's law is going to focus on. You can't say that you can't do X, but you can say you can't do X within XXXft/yards whatever of a funeral or something like that.


Fine. Make it 100 miles.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:00:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Spade:
Illegal?

They may be cocksuckers, but it's still free speech.



Freedom of Speech has NOTHING to do with protesting peoples funerals. It has to deal with the right to speak out against the GOVERNMENT. Private Citizen's funerals are not the Government.

Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:01:11 PM EDT
I'm not sure why there should be protests at ANY funeral.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:02:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:
I'm not sure why there should be protests at ANY funeral.




Because they're losers with nothing better to do.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:02:49 PM EDT
If its legal to herd protesters into "Free Speech Zones" during political party conventions, what would be the problem with limiting protests near funerals?
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:03:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:
I'm not sure why there should be protests at ANY funeral.



Wellstone Funeral became a protest against Republicans
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:07:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:
These idiots really need to be lined up in front of a wall with cigarettes and blindfolds. The hell with making it illegal so they can sue over it, drag 'em all in for mental health evaluations everytime, stamp "Crazy" on their heads and toss em in a psych ward.



interesting idea-"he was going to protest a soldier's funeral, he was obviously deranged, so we locked him up for three days for observation"

so, just what/who can involuntarily commit someone(for their own good of course)?
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:08:24 PM EDT
As tasteless as these folks are, I'm not sure I want the state to be able to curtail free speech just because it offends or hurts someone else's feelings.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:08:57 PM EDT
Plain out making it illegal will not pass constitutional muster.

However, what the legislatures SHOULD do is make the legal distance something like 1 mile away. Would not violate anyones right to congregate, nor would it violate freedom of speech.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:13:14 PM EDT
The world has had many funerals over the years and the protesting by these douchebags has only become a popular in the last few.

People are quick to scream " MAKE A NEW LAW!" once a new, unpopular trend takes place.

These people will go away soon enough.



Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:14:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fiend:

Originally Posted By Spade:
Illegal?

They may be cocksuckers, but it's still free speech.



Freedom of Speech has NOTHING to do with protesting peoples funerals. It has to deal with the right to speak out against the GOVERNMENT. Private Citizen's funerals are not the Government.




Then the .gov has no right to make laws regarding behavior at funerals. Those people are scum for sure, but making more laws is the wrong answer IMHO. Maybe decriminalizing the action of the funeral atendees that respond to the protestors would be a bettr option and probably a better deterrent.

Many jackasses dont care if its illegal. Many of those jackasses prefer it to be illegal and use it as a way to get arrested in order to get publicity. Now make it well known that the actions of the funeral attendees will be prsectued lightly if at all, then it will deter the scumbags a bit more.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:16:23 PM EDT
I smell this case going to the supreme court
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:18:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By WildBoar:

Originally Posted By fiend:

Originally Posted By Spade:
Illegal?

They may be cocksuckers, but it's still free speech.



Freedom of Speech has NOTHING to do with protesting peoples funerals. It has to deal with the right to speak out against the GOVERNMENT. Private Citizen's funerals are not the Government.




Then the .gov has no right to make laws regarding behavior at funerals. Those people are scum for sure, but making more laws is the wrong answer IMHO. Maybe decriminalizing the action of the funeral atendees that respond to the protestors would be a bettr option and probably a better deterrent.

Many jackasses dont care if its illegal. Many of those jackasses prefer it to be illegal and use it as a way to get arrested in order to get publicity. Now make it well known that the actions of the funeral attendees will be prsectued lightly if at all, then it will deter the scumbags a bit more.



. fed gov does not. But IMO a State has every right to do.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:20:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Triumph955i:
We don't need to make it illegal.

We just need for LE to turn a blind eye when the group beats the piss out of protestors...

Respect.



Or vice-versa (witnesses "get blind" when LEOs discretely practice proper baton swinging methods...)
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:24:21 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:43:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fiend:

Originally Posted By WildBoar:

Originally Posted By fiend:

Originally Posted By Spade:
Illegal?

They may be cocksuckers, but it's still free speech.



Freedom of Speech has NOTHING to do with protesting peoples funerals. It has to deal with the right to speak out against the GOVERNMENT. Private Citizen's funerals are not the Government.




Then the .gov has no right to make laws regarding behavior at funerals. Those people are scum for sure, but making more laws is the wrong answer IMHO. Maybe decriminalizing the action of the funeral atendees that respond to the protestors would be a bettr option and probably a better deterrent.

Many jackasses dont care if its illegal. Many of those jackasses prefer it to be illegal and use it as a way to get arrested in order to get publicity. Now make it well known that the actions of the funeral attendees will be prsectued lightly if at all, then it will deter the scumbags a bit more.



. fed gov does not. But IMO a State has every right to do.



True but even then its still a little extreme. Laws are only bent by those who they are supposed to curtail. Instead of making a law prohibiting peole from doing somethign, they shoud make one enabling people to do something. I think it would be more effective though it sounds good, I dont see how it would be properly monitored.

Besides most cemetaries are privately owned and are private land. Tresspasing charges are ther for a reason. Increase the fines if one if disturbing the peace.
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