Bush Signs Ban on Military Funeral Protests…

…and while I understand the sentiment behind the bill, I think it’s unconstitutional. That’s based on my layperson’s understanding of free speech; Wheeler, feel free to weigh in with the expert’s opinion.

The bill targets Fred Phelps and his minions from the Westboro Baptist “Church”, who have graduated from picketing the funerals of AIDS patients and victims of gay-bashings to demonstrating at military funerals with hateful signs and bullhorns.

Apparently Fred is too much even for the folks at the Free Republic, who are usually quite “free” (excuse the pun) with their homophobic comments (Pam Spaulding at Pam’s House Blend sometimes dives into the swamp there to bring back some of the most colorful ones). A freeper group protested Fred’s most recent funeral appearance.

I guess the one good thing about Fred is that he unites people from across the political spectrum in a mass outpouring of disgust at his bigotry. It’s just too bad we didn’t get this upset when they were picketing at the funerals of Matthew Shepard and Billy Jack Gaither.

3 Responses to “Bush Signs Ban on Military Funeral Protests…”

  1. wheeler says:

    i have not read the bill, but based on news accounts it is probably constitutional. you can regulate the time place and manner of speech, especially when the location is a place not traditionally associated with speech. a national cemetary during a funeral seems like such a place. and the restriction looks fairly limited: It’s just the immediate time and area of the funeral. also, and most importantly, it is content neutral. no one is allowed to protest in the restricted area, regardless of the message. if the law just barred these wackos, it probably would be unconstitutional because even when you can regulate speech, you have to do it even handedly.

    imho, i think legislatures who want to address this issue ought to add a new category to self defense law. i.e. “it shall be a complete defense to any criminal charges that the defendant was acting to preserve the peace and dignity of a military funeral.” or something like that.

  2. Kathy says:

    Thanks, Wheeler. I thought Fred would have had his ass kicked by now. He loves to sue, so I’m sure he’ll challenge this in court. Even if he loses, he gets publicity, and that’s what he wants.

  3. Don says:

    As regards wanting publicity, Phelps seems no different from other assholes who are otherwise known a mere politicians.

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