Bill to ban funeral protests passes state Senate

Monday, February 13th 2006, 2:21 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A bill to prohibit protests at funerals in Oklahoma passed the state Senate Monday.

The bill offered by Senator Mary Easley was approved on a 46-to-0 vote and now goes to the state House for consideration. If it's passed by the state House with no changes it would go to Governor Henry for his signature.

The bill is prompted by protests by members of a Kansas church who've shown up in Oklahoma for at least three funerals of soldiers who were killed in Iraq. The church members say the soldiers were killed because America tolerates homosexuals.

The bill makes it a misdemeanor to picket within 500 feet of a cemetery, church or funeral home from an hour before to four hours after the start of a funeral service. Violators could be fined up to $500 and be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail.

It's one of five bills offered in the state Legislature that would prohibit protests or picketers at funerals.