Illinois Senate approves anti- Westboro Baptist Church bill
24 May, 2011 16:58
The group infamously known for protesting high profile funerals, including funerals of US service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, may soon find it more challenging to protest in the State of Illinois.
The state Senate has approved a measure which would require all protests occurring at or near a funeral take place at least 300 feet away from the funeral proceedings. Presently, the law requires protesters remain 200 feet away.An original bill proposed in the State House by a Northern Illinois University sociology class suggested a 1,000 foot requirement. The State House must now opt to accept or reject the Senate version of the bill. If the House approves the Senate version the measure will be sent to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn for signature.Quinn is known for his past attempts as the state’s Lieutenant Governor to restrict protests at funerals as in likely to sign the bill if approved by the House. In opposition are of course Westboro Baptist Church, and also the Illinois ACLU which argues the law restricts free speech.“The First Amendment protects the right to engage in speech in public places that is directed towards whatever audience the speaker chooses,” a senior Illinois ACLU attorney told the Springfield Journal-Register.