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Funeral Protests Fair, Says Judge

Jefferson City, MO – A federal district judge has found that two Missouri Laws curbing protests near funerals violate free speech.

Missouri legislators passed two laws in 2006 after members of a Topeka, Kansas church protested at soldiers' funerals . The church claims the deaths are God's punishment on the United States for allowing homosexuality. Sexual preference of the dead or the mourners was never an issue. The protests by members of the Westboro Baptist Church have been staged from the midwest to the east coast.

Two laws were passed, one as a safeguard in case the other failed a legal challenge.

One keeps protestors 300 feet from a funeral. The other bars any protest from an hour before to an hour after a service.

U.S. District Judge Judge Fernando Gaitan found both unconstitutional because they restrict freedom of expression.

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