WPR News
9:06 am
Tue January 16, 2007

Bill Would Create Obstacles for Funeral Protesters

Cheyenne, WY – Because of the threat of outside groups protesting funerals of soldiers and others, Wyoming lawmakers are putting some obstacles in place. The prime sponsor is Daniel Representative Monte Olsen who wants to keep protestors 300 feet or roughly a block away from a cemetery or church building. He also wants to limit the protest to an hour before and after a funeral. Olsen says the families have a right to a funeral with dignity. The bill is also heavily supported by law enforcement. But Linda Burt of the American Civil Liberties union says the distance separating protestors may be unconstitutional. Burt admits that she completely understands the emotions behind the bill but she says aggressive and vile speech is also protected under the first amendment. She adds that previous legal opinions say that protestors must be allowed to convey their message. However the committee passed the bill unanimously and it now heads to the house floor.