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Council Repeals Funeral Picketing Ordinance

A member of the Westboro Baptist Church smiles as she displays the group's message.
Photo from the Westboro Baptist Church web site.
A member of the Westboro Baptist Church smiles as she displays the group's message.


Kansas City, MO – It is no longer illegal to picket at funerals in Kansas City, Missouri. The city council repealed what was said to be the nation's first municipal funeral picketing law Thursday.

Kansas City's leaders passed an ordinance prohibiting picketing at funerals several years before Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church started picketing the funerals of servicemen killed in action. But the ordinance was never enforced, even on the occasions the Church picketed military funerals in Kansas City.

Nonetheless, the Phelps group threatened to sue over the law's constitutionality. And City attorneys advised that not only would the city lose the suit, but that the plaintiff's attorney would be a member of the church who would donate any legal fees to the church's God hates gays activities.

At Thursday's legislative session, Councilman Ed Ford told his colleagues, "By keeping this ordinance on the books, all we would be doing is putting money in the pockets of this despicable family."

The other council members reluctantly agreed, repealing the ordinance without a dissenting vote.

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