A federal judge has ruled that Missouri’s law banning protests near funerals is unconstitutional.

United States District Judge Fernando Gaitan ruled that two laws approved in 2006 violate the right of free speech guaranteed by the Constitution.

The legislature approved the ban in response to protests staged by the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. The renegade church makes it a practice to protest at the miltary funerals, preaching that military deaths demonstrate God’s judgment on America for its tolerance of homosexuality.