funeral protest ban
4:55 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Court to review decision in funeral protest ban

A federal appeals court will take reconsider whether a Missouri town can enforce an ordinance banning peaceful funeral protests.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the entire 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis agreed Wednesday to review an earlier ruling by a three-judge panel of the court.

The panel ruled in October that the First Amendment's right to free speech protects peaceful funeral protests.

That meant the St. Louis suburb of Manchester could not enforce an ordinance adopted in response to the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The ruling also reversed a lower-court decision siding with a Nebraska funeral-picketing law.

Westboro members frequently protest at funerals of soldiers. They claim the deaths are God's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.