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Bush signs bill restricting protests at military funerals

[JURIST] President Bush on Memorial Day signed into law [White House statement] the Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act [HR 5037 summary; PDF text], legislation barring protests near military funerals originally passed in the US House of Representatives [JURIST report] and approved last week by the Senate [JURIST report]. The law will prohibit any demonstration within 300 feet of the entrance of a national cemetery and within 150 feet of an entrance into the cemetery for one hour before and after a military funeral.

The law primarily targets the renegade Westboro Baptist Church [WARNING: readers may find material at this church website offensive; Wikipedia backgrounder] led by the Rev. Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kansas, which claims US soldiers have been killed because America tolerates homosexuals. While the bill will effectively bar protests like those led by Phelps, it will also bar any favorable noisy demonstrations that disturb the funeral proceedings. AP has more.

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About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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