The Arizona Legislature passed an emergency bill that would bar funeral protests. Westboro baptist church (no caps intentional) intends to protest the funeral of 9 year old Christina Taylor Green, for whatever reason. Governor Jan Brewer is expected to sign the bill this evening and it would go into effect immediately. The new law would prohibit protesting at or near funerals in Arizona.
According to Politics Daily:
On Monday, members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church said they plan to protest outside the funeral of Christina Taylor Green, one of six people killed in the shootings that wounded another 14 people, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
Westboro Baptist, a small church in Topeka, pickets at funerals of military veterans and people who have died of AIDS because its members say their deaths are God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality. Salon reported that a flier posted by the church on its website regarding the Tucson protest declared “God hates Catholics” — the little girl’s family is Catholic — and “God Hates Fags.” The church website also features a video with founder/pastor Fred Phelps thanking God for the deadly shootings.
Numerous states have passed laws restricting protests at funerals after members of the Westboro church began demonstrating at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Arizona legislation is modeled on an Ohio law that was upheld by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Phoenix Democrat.
“This is just horrific that … people have to deal with this. We shouldn’t have to do this in time of great pain for our state,” Sinema told the Post.
Under the bill, picketing or protesting within 300 feet of a funeral service is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.
Shirley Phelps-Roper of the Westboro church said church members will get around the ban by protesting at intersections that are farther than 300 feet from the services.
But some in area are planning a counter-action to protect the grieving family.
Tonight I will dream of watching those people getting hauled away and dragged across the pavement. Sshhhhhhhhh don’t tell Ken Cuccinelli. He wouldn’t like us inhibiting free speech, even if someone is yelling fire in a crowded theater.
Westboro Baptist appears to be ever bit as mentally ill as the shooter. They represent pure evil. Perhaps finally we can all agree on what hate rhetoric really is.