Funeral Protests | St. Louis Public Radio

Funeral Protests

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed several bills passed during the 2014 regular session into law Friday.

Tweak to funeral protest law

First, Nixon signed  House Bill 1372, which fixes a legal issue with Missouri's ban on protests at funerals.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon:Missouri can keep protesters 300 feet away from around a funeral without violating free speech rights, a federal appeals court in St. Louis ruled on Friday. The Missouri law had been challenged by the Westboro Baptist Church, which has held hundreds of anti-gay protests around the country in recent years.

(via Flickr/k763)

A federal appeals court has ruled that with some changes, a version of a Missouri law restricting protests near funerals does not violate a Kansas-based group's right to free speech.

Here's the quick version of today's ruling:

Ballwin Adopts Limits On Funeral Protests

Mar 12, 2013
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Another Missouri town has adopted an ordinance placing limits on funeral protests. 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that aldermen in Ballwin on Monday approved a law prohibiting picketing or engaging in other protest activities within 300 feet of a funeral or burial service. Manchester, Clayton and several other cities have adopted similar ordinances in recent months.

The laws are in response to groups like Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., which often protests at the funerals of soldiers.

Court to review decision in funeral protest ban

Dec 7, 2011
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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.

Appeals court strikes down Manchester funeral protest ban

Oct 5, 2011
(via Flickr/k763)

A federal appeals court has ruled against a Missouri town's funeral protest ordinance, saying peaceful picketing is protected by the right to free speech under the First Amendment.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a district court ruling in favor of members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has passed legislation to limit where and when funeral protesters can demonstrate.

The action comes despite this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threw out a lawsuit against a fundamentalist church that holds protests at military funerals.

Morning headlines: Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mar 2, 2011

  • Missouri House members have voted to cap the state's minimum wage at the federal rate. The legislation would essentially overturn a 2006 voter-approved law that lets Missouri's minimum wage rise above the federal level based on annual inflation. Proponents contend capping the minimum wage would help small business. They also say it could be difficult for Missouri businesses to compete if the state's minimum wage is higher than those of neighboring states. Critics defend Missouri's existing law and say legislators should not overrule a measure approved by the voters.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 31, 2008 - Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon and Gov. Matt Blunt had asked the court to allow enforcement of the 2006 law that makes it a crime to picket or protest "in front of or about" a funeral from an hour before it starts to an hour after it concludes. The law was passed in response to the military funeral protests of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka. The church believes that God kills American soldiers as punishment for the "don't ask, don't tell" policy permitting gays in the military.