Politics

Torrance Lawmaker’s Push To Limit Funeral, Religious Protests Passes Senate

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Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas are known for their vehement anti-gay positions and for protesting at US soldiers' funerals. (credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas are known for their vehement anti-gay positions and for protesting at US soldiers’ funerals. (credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) — A bill authored by a state senator from Torrance to restrict how close protesters can get to funeral services and religious observances passed the California Senate on Wednesday.

The bill SB 888, introduced by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), requires groups to stay 1,000 feet from a burial site, mortuary or place of worship.

Lieu said the legislation was in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in March that said protests by the Westboro Baptist Church are protected free speech.

Members of the Topeka, Kan.-based church group picket funerals, contending God is punishing the military for the
nation’s tolerance of homosexuality.

SB 888 makes it a misdemeanor to protest within the 1,000-foot perimeter for an hour before or after a funeral.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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