Church Member Says Law Won't Change Pickets Of Soldier Funerals

Saturday, March 24th 2007, 8:10 pm
By: News On 6

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Fred Phelps and his followers still plan to protest a funeral for an Ohio soldier, even though a federal judge has upheld a state law limiting where they may stand.

The funeral for Army Sergeant Robert Carr is planned for Monday in the northeast Ohio town of Warren.

Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Nugent upheld a state law that prohibits protesters from being within 300 feet of a cemetery, funeral home or place of worship within an hour of a burial service.

However, Nugent struck down a portion of the 2006 law that extended the 300-foot buffer zone along funeral procession routes.

At least 27 states have enacted laws restricting funeral picketing.

The laws are aimed at Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Its members picket burials of U.S. troops, arguing the deaths are God's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality.