A Federal Judge has rejected an effort to stop enforcement of Missouri’s funeral protest law. Federal District Judge Fernando Gaitan has denied a request from a member of a Topeka, Kansas, church run by the Reverend Fred Phelps, for a preliminary injunction. Judge Gaitan found the plaintiff, Phelps’ daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper, was not likely to succeed on the merits because the statute was content neutral, that Missouri had asserted a significant interest, and that the statute was narrowly tailored. He also declined to find that the statute was overly broad or unduly vague. The law, passed last year, sets criminal restrictions on picketing funerals. It was passed in response to the actions of Phelps’ followers, who have crossed the country to stage protests at funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The group claims it is God’s will that the soldiers are being killed because of America’s tolerance of homosexuality.
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