Appeals Court Rules Manchester Can Restrict Funeral Protests
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the City of Manchester can enforce a funeral protest ordinance in regard to a Westboro Baptist Church lawsuit challenging the ordinance. Read the court's ruling in this article.
Church members are known for their anti-gay protests at the funerals of U.S. soldiers, claiming the soldiers' deaths are a result of America's tolerance for homosexuality. They regularly picket military funerals with signs such as "thank God for dead soldiers."
(Read Related Story: Manchester Reacts to Court's Ruling in Westboro Funeral Protest Case)
Manchester city code states “Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish the person's sentiments on all subjects... but no person shall picket or engage in other protest activities, nor shall any association or corporation cause picketing or other protest activities to occur within three hundred feet of any residence, cemetery, funeral home, church, synagogue, or other establishment during or within one hour before or one hour after the conducting of any actual funeral or burial service at that place.”
As previously reported by Town and Country - Manchester Patch, On Oct. 5, 2011, a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church the ACLU, arguing Manchester’s ordinance violated Westboro's first amendment rights. Tuesday's ruling by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the previous ruling by the three-judge panel. Read Tuesday's ruling in the PDF portion of this article.
According to KMOV, Attorney Tony Rothert, with the American Civil Liberties Union, represents Westboro member Shirley Phelps-Roper in the case against the Manchester and said a "decision about whether to appeal will be made soon."
*EDITOR'S NOTE: Reporter Carlos Restrepo contributed to this report.
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