Arizona Bans Funeral Protests

Lawmakers head off group's plan to protest at Tucson victims' funerals
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2011 10:30 PM CST
Arizona Bans Funeral Protests
Dozens gather at a makeshift memorial located in front of the University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz.    (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Arizona lawmakers have moved swiftly to prevent the Westboro Baptist Church from carrying out its plan to picket the funerals of Tucson shooting victims. Emergency legislation banning protests at or near funeral sites was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer Tuesday evening after it was unanimously approved by the state House and Senate, AP reports.

The bill, which took effect immediately, "will assure that the victims of Saturday's tragic shooting in Tucson will be laid to rest in peace with the full dignity and respect that they deserve," Brewer said. The Kansas-based church has vowed to protest tomorrow's funeral for 9-year-old Christina Taylor-Green because "God sent the shooter to deal with idolatrous America." A spokeswoman says picketing will take place at a nearby intersection, outside the area the new law bans protests in. Volunteer "angels" plan to form a human shield to block picketers from view of family members.
(Read more picketing funerals stories.)

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