New Mo. law on disturbing worship challenged with ACLU lawsuit

Aug 22, 2012

A federal lawsuit is seeking to block a new Missouri law making it a crime to disturb a worship service.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union claims the law is illegally vague and will infringe on free-speech rights guaranteed by the U.S. and Missouri constitutions.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of two individuals and two groups that picket outside churches against clergy who allegedly sexually abused children. It seeks to block the law from taking effect as scheduled next Tuesday.

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, who sponsored the measure, says he's confident it will be upheld.

The law carries a misdemeanor penalty of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for disturbing a "house of worship."

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