For now, pickets can march at funerals

Kansas City Star/June 29, 2009

Pickets can march at soldiers’ funerals in Missouri while a lower court determines if state laws limiting such protests are constitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Without comment, the justices declined to hear an appeal brought by the state that sought to lift a preliminary injunction that bars prosecutors from enforcing laws banning protests near funerals.

Shirley Phelps-Roper of Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church has fought the Missouri laws and said they violated her freedom of speech. Church members believe that God is punishing America for tolerating homosexuality, abortion and divorce.

With the preliminary injunction issue resolved, the case will return to a federal judge in Kansas City, who will hear evidence on whether the state laws written to keep protesters away from funeral services is constitutional.

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