Alabama House OKs funeral protest ban bill - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

House OKs funeral protest ban bill

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The Alabama House has passed a bill requiring protesters to stay at least 1,000 feet or two blocks away from funerals.

The House approved a bill Thursday by a unanimous vote that allows protests at funerals, but requires that they stay far enough away to keep from disrupting the service.

The sponsor, Republican Rep. DuWayne Bridges of Valley, a former Marine, said the bill is aimed at members of a Kansas church that has protested at the funerals of service members killed in action and at the several other high profile Alabama funerals.

"Their mission is to taunt and terrorize families of fallen soldiers, and that kind of behavior has no place in Alabama," Representative Bridges said. "In Alabama, we honor our fallen heroes and comfort the families who lose loved ones in such tragic circumstances. Keeping these shameless demonstrations at least two blocks away will allow families to mourn in peace."

The bill passed the House last year, but died in the Senate last year. It now goes to the Senate for debate.

While a law prohibiting demonstrations altogether would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment, setting a respectable distance meets constitutional muster, Rep. Bridges said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. WSFA 12 News contributed to this report. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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