Friday, April 10, 2009

State’s funeral protest bill advances

The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Apr 10, 2009 20:27:56 EDT

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Despite strong objections from a few legislators, Nevada lawmakers have advanced a bill to restrict demonstrations near funerals of fallen soldiers.

AB1, endorsed by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on an 11-3 vote, would make it a misdemeanor to demonstrate at a funeral or memorial service with the intent to disrupt the service. Protesting at a ceremony such as a parade wouldn’t be prohibited.

A key reason for the proposed legislation is the picketing at some military funerals by Westboro Baptist Church members, who say the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality.

“This same group protests outside of family planning clinics,” said Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas. “Why wouldn’t we exclude that as well?”

“I find it abhorrent that a white supremacy group can walk down the middle of a black neighborhood,” Horne said. “But I will defend their right to do that, despite the ugly history.”

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