(CN) – Missouri’s attempt to bar a gay-hating fundamentalist church from protesting at military funerals in on hold, for now. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the state’s appeal of a court order barring Missouri from enforcing a law restricting protests near funerals.
The law targeted a Topeka, Kansas church whose members have picketed funerals of veteran killed during the Iraq war. Church members say the soldiers’ deaths are a punishment from God because the United States harbors homosexuals.
Missouri in 2006 enacted two laws creating buffer zones between demonstrators and funerals and processions.
After the laws took effect, Shirley Phelps-Roper, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, filed suit seeking to have the laws tossed out because of free speech concerns.
A federal appeals court in St. Louis ruled that Missouri cannot enforce the laws until that lawsuit is resolved. Missouri appealed, but the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear it. A trial on the merits of the constitutional challenge could come in July 2010.