Senator Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, recently filed a bill to address protests taking place at the funerals of fallen members of the military. Senate Bill 91 is designed to address the ruling of a federal judge who recently overturned a Missouri law that banned picketing and protesting at funeral services, says Engler.
“I find the act of protesting at the funeral of one of our fallen heroes to be absolutely deplorable,” said Sen. Engler. “I have filed this legislation as a fix to Missouri’s law so that it will hold up in court and protect grieving families from this unacceptable practice.”
Westboro Baptist Church, based out of Kansas, is well-known for picketing the funerals of soldiers killed during active duty. In 2006, the General Assembly passed a law banning the picketing and protesting of funeral services. The law made it illegal for people to picket or otherwise protest near any church, cemetery or funeral home within an hour prior to a funeral service, and until an hour following the ceremony’s end. A complimentary law established a distance of 300 feet. This summer, both laws were overturned by a federal judge.
“Senate Bill 91 contains several changes that will address the concerns of the federal judge and better design the Missouri law to hold up in a court challenge,” Engler says.
“Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines stand ready to defend our country with their lives,” said Sen. Engler. “If they do make the ultimate sacrifice, their funeral should be one of respect, compassion, and dignity. My hope is that Senate Bill 91 will secure that for those grieving families in our state.”