State Senate panel passes funeral picketing bill

Tuesday, February 7th 2006, 10:44 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A state Senate committee passed a bill Tuesday that would restrict demonstrations at funerals.

The bill is in response to escalating protests by members of an anti-gay Kansas church. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka have begun protesting at funerals of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. They say the soldiers were struck down by God for fighting for a country that tolerates homosexuality.

Since the protests have begun, a bikers' group has begun showing up at funerals. They rev up the engines on their motorcycles to drown out comments by the Westboro members.

In response to the activities of the Westboro group, Kansas passed a law to restrict protests at funerals. Oklahoma is one of at least 14 states considering similar legislation. The bill passed Tuesday now will go to the full state Senate.