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.

Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled the City of Manchester can enforce its funeral protest ordinance that restricts protests like those conducted by Westboro Baptist Church. 

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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.”

In 2010, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, challenged the ordinance.

As previously reported by Town and Country - Manchester Patch, 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.

Read Previous Stories:

Manchester Reacts to Court's Ruling in Westboro Funeral Protest Case

COURT UPDATE: Listen to Audio From Manchester Funeral Protest Lawsuit

Federal Appeals Court Hears Arguments in Manchester’s Funeral Protests Case

Court Grants Manchester Another Shot at Westboro Baptist Church Case

A Look Into Manchester’s Lawsuits

Phil Gonzalez October 17, 2012 at 01:57 PM
The 1st Amendment is so clear, even a grade school drop out could understand it. However, judges & politicians hope their rhetoric & more educated status will render uninformed & undereducated citizens in awe of their so-called logic. Here is Amendment 1: Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF; OR ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, or of the press OR OF THE PEOPLE PEACEABLY TO ASSEMBLE, and to petition the government for a redress of grievences. What part of NO LAW or PROHIBIT THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF do judges & politicians NOT UNDERSTAND? You & I may NOT agree with the methods used or even their message, but we MUST STAND UP FOR THEIR RIGHTS. If we DO NOT, we have lost our rights already.
Randy Belcher April 24, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Copied from your comment "and to petition the GOVERNMENT for a redress of grievences." They are not petitioning their GOVERNMENT in their protests and there for have no grounds


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