ST. LOUIS (CN) – Lawyers for a gay-hating church appeared in Federal Court Tuesday to challenge a St. Charles city law prohibiting funeral protests. The law, passed in November, bans picketing within 300 feet of a funeral or burial site from an hour before until an hour after the observance; it is patterned after a Nebraska law that has withstood challenge.
In that challenge, a federal judge in June denied a request for a preliminary injunction against the law, saying that family members at a funeral are a captive audience and are particularly vulnerable to a protest.
The Westboro Baptist Church, of Topeka, Kan., claims the law violates its right to free speech.
Church members claim to believe military deaths are God’s wrath for this country’s acceptance of homosexuals; its members have protested at hundreds of military funerals.
A decision is expected before Feb. 7, when the law is to take affect.