Loved ones attending funerals will have more protection from protesters thanks to legislation signed into law Monday. Sen. Josh Brecheen was the author of Senate Bill 406 which lengthens the time and distance that protesters must stay away from services.
“Mocking the deaths of others is irreprehensible, but the Supreme Court’s ruling protecting funeral protests has given groups like the Westboro Church more fuel in their campaign of hate,” said Brecheen, R-Coalgate. “After that ruling, the Westboro Church said they’d increase their protests four fold; and with our state only hours from their headquarters, we needed to strengthen our funeral picketing law to protect grieving families from further emotional harm from these heartless, misguided people.”
SB 406 prohibits protesting within two hours before and after a service as well as within 1,000 feet of it. The bill pertains to all funeral services, not just military ones although that is the main focus of the Westboro Church protests.
The new provisions will go into effect November 1, 2011.