Illinois Law Undermines Westboro Baptist Church Ruling

By:  Raven Clabough
08/17/2011
       
Illinois Law Undermines Westboro Baptist Church Ruling

On March 2, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church’s right to freedom of speech. The court said that despite the Topeka, Kansas, church’s contentious behavior — extreme demonstrations against homosexuality, including anti-gay protests at military funerals — such actions are subject to constitutional protections.

State legislatures, however, have attempted to pass laws that would undermine the Supreme Court ruling. The latest endeavor can be found in Illinois.

On Sunday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the “Let Them Rest in Peace Act,” which would force anti-gay protests at military funerals to be at least 300 feet — the length of a football field — from military funerals. Additionally, the bill bans protests from taking place 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after funerals.

At the time he signed the law, Governor Quinn declared:

On March 2, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church’s right to freedom of speech. The court said that despite the Topeka, Kansas, church’s contentious behavior — extreme demonstrations against homosexuality, including anti-gay protests at military funerals — such actions are subject to constitutional protections.

State legislatures, however, have attempted to pass laws that would undermine the Supreme Court ruling. The latest endeavor can be found in Illinois.

On Sunday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the “Let Them Rest in Peace Act,” which would force anti-gay protests at military funerals to be at least 300 feet — the length of a football field — from military funerals. Additionally, the bill bans protests from taking place 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after funerals.

At the time he signed the law, Governor Quinn declared:

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Photo: Supporters of  the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church, demonstrate outside a funeral service for Marine Lance Cpl. Rex Arthur Page, in Kirksville, Mo: AP Images

 

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