Governor Blunt criticizes a court ruling that has blocked enforcement of the state’s ban on protests at military funerals.
A preliminary injunction has been issued by the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals, preventing enforcement of the protest ban. The court has blocked enforcement until it can consider a challenge to the law’s constitutionality. The lawsuit was filed by the Phelps family of Topeka, Kansas which operates the Westboro Baptist Church and has become infamous for staging protests at military funerals across the country.
Governor Blunt says the court showed a callous disregard for the families of fallen servicemen. Blunt is especially critical of the court’s statement that it issued the preliminary injunction after deciding that such action will not cause substantial harm to others. Blunt argues it would be hard to convince the families of fallen military personnel of that.
And Blunt doesn’t buy the claim that the ban on such protests infringes on First Amendment rights. He says the First Amendments doesn’t confer absolute rights without restraint.
The Phelps family has filed suit to throw out the funeral protest ban. It claims it has a right to demonstrate at military funerals, because those funerals have become public events. The Phelps family claims American military deaths demonstrate God’s judgment on America for tolerating homosexuality.
The legislature approved the ban in response to the Phelps family protest at the funeral of Specialist Edward Lee Myers, which was held in St. Joseph in 2005 after his body was returned from Iraq.