Appeals court upholds Nebraska funeral picketing law
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A federal appeals court has agreed with a lower court’s ruling upholding Nebraska’s law requiring picketers to stay at least 500 feet from funerals.
The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday said that all speakers, including members of Westboro Baptist Church, have a constitutionally-protected right to express their beliefs at funerals. But the appeals court also said that those rights “are not absolute and some time, place, and/or manner restrictions are allowed.”
Shirley Phelps-Roper, a prominent member of the Topeka-Kansas based church, sued in 2009, arguing, among other things, that the Nebraska law is selectively enforced.
The church protests at funerals throughout the country using anti-gay chants and signs because it believes God is punishing U.S. military members and others for defending a nation that tolerates homosexuality.