Attorney General Chris Koster is pleased with a federal judgeâ??s decision on funeral protests.
The judge upheld a Missouri law requiring protesters to stay at least a football-field length away from funeral sites.
After an 8 year court battle, a Missouri law banning protests within 300 feet of a funeral is now in effect. Westboro Baptist Church member Shirley Phelps-Roper filed the lawsuit that challenged the law. Her group believes God is punishing the United States for its acceptance of homosexuality. Phelps-Roper has protested several military funerals in Mid-Missouri. Last month during a Columbia protest against gay Mizzou football player Michael Sam, she told KRCG 13 her pickets are a warning to Americans.
Phelps-Roper said, â??23 years, every single day and more than 52,000 pickets, we have warned this nation. We have bound them by the standards of god. Now, they are in a lot of trouble. This nationâ??s destruction is imminent.â??
Koster said in a written statement, â??No parent who has lost a child should be confronted by the hate and intolerance of strangers, and the ruling means parents and other loved ones will have a protective boundary from protesters.â??
The penalty for funeral protesters is up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense, and up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine for repeat offenders.
The last time Westboro Baptist Church protested a military funeral in Columbia was 2 years ago at the funeral of Army Specialist Sterling Wyatt.