Illinois Senate approves bill to restrict Westboro Baptist protests

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, May 23, 2011 20:48 EDT
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The Illinois Senate passed legislation on Monday aimed at restricting members of the Westboro Baptist Church from protesting at funerals.

The infamous Westboro Baptist Church pickets the funerals of military families with offensive signs such as “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “God Hates America.” The church believes that God is punishing the United States because of America’s acceptance of homosexuality.

The State-Journal Register reported that the legislation would require anyone picketing a funeral to be at least 300 feet away, adding an extra 100 feet to current Illinois law.

The House version of the bill would have required protesters to remain at least 1,000 feet away.

In April, Oklahoma passed a similar law that prohibits demonstrations two hours before or after a funeral and restricts protesters from being within 1,000 feet of the funeral site.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois said it opposes the legislation because it limits speech in public places.

The bill will head to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s desk if the state’s House approves the changes made by the Senate.

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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