LGBT NEWS: Phelps Funeral Protests Finally Gets Gov Responce...

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by CoCo, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. CoCo

    CoCo ...is a Queer Don!! OT Supporter

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    ...too bad it didn't happen in Laramie, or to a gay person. But I guess it's good, regardless.


    States Eye Picketing at Soldiers' Funerals

    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.

    ***
    On the Net:

    Ohio bill: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID126_HB_484

    Missouri bill: http://www.senate.mo.gov/06info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionTypeR&BillID90

    First Amendment Center: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org
    ***


    Link => http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-funeral-protests,0,4485746.story?coll=sns-ap-nationworld-headlines
     
  2. sholnay

    sholnay New Member

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    This makes me so angry.. I honestly dont understand how some people can have their priorities SO fucked up. You are protesting that miners were killed because America harbors homosexuals... What the fuck is wrong with these twisted people - how does ANYONE get like this? They say its a small sect - with 75 members, but what happens in 10 years when those 75 members spread their values to all of their offspring? (yea, i know, these people shouldnt even be allowed to procreate - but thats another topic). I guess I should be thankful that it is ONLY 75 people, out of 300 million - but they are making headlines! And we all know there are plenty more people that have no thoughts for themselves and will gladly let themselves be directed by this nut Phelps. I dont know - im very angry from this - to the point where I feel sick in my stomach and am almost speechless.
     
  3. CoCo

    CoCo ...is a Queer Don!! OT Supporter

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    When I first met them, they had lil kids holding signs ("9/11 was God's Punishment" and such). I was moved to tears.
     
  4. sholnay

    sholnay New Member

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    my goodness.. and i can only imagine each family is just pumping out all these little kids too. It'll take a lot to get rid of that mind warping.
     
  5. RedGoober4Life

    RedGoober4Life New Member

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    Don't they have to work?
     

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