Funeral, Protest, Bill, Law, Military, Blue Star Mothers - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Funeral Protest, New Bill Broadens Law

Posted: Updated: April 26, 2013 09:39 PM

RUSTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Many of us have heard about the Westboro Baptist Church, and their message. That message includes protests at military funeral. Now state leaders are looking for a way to strengthen laws against such protests.

Flags and people standing in silence is what many people think of at a military funeral. Blue Star Mother, Kathy Lowery, says "it touched your heart because you see all these people, the flags, the patriot guard riders, and the blue star mothers. Everyone's there to support."

Lowery's son serves in the military. She also supports other military families. She says while some are there to support the families, others are there to protest. She says, "it's just terrible, it's just terrible."

Members from Westboro Baptist Church have threatened to protest numerous funerals here in Northeast Louisiana. Crowds of people, members from the community, and others have showed up to block the group in case they arrived. Westboro members never showed. Blue Star Mother's Joann Barr, say "to think that you've got people that are possibly going to show up and act ugly. They throw out accusations that are not true. It's just hateful and very hurtful."

Thursday a bill proposed by Senator Francis Thompson passed in the Senate. That bill broadens Louisiana's law preventing protests at funerals. Barr says, "this will be one thing they won't have to deal with."

The bill would prevent protests within 500 feet of the actual service; and, within 30 feet of the funeral route. Something that Lowery thinks is a great change. She says, "they don't want the protesters there. I think this will eliminate that and relieve a lot of stress for a lot of people."

Both mothers say families need the entire communities support to get through the loss of a loved one. The think anything to strengthen the laws against protestors are needed.

Back in 2011 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the church. They said they have a right to protest. That decision however didn't prevent states from making laws banning funeral disruptions.

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