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New Law Says Funeral Protesters Must Keep Distance From Service

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(credit: Getty Images)

(credit: Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that seeks to balance the constitutional right to protest with the desire to let those attending funeral services mourn in peace.

The California governor vetoed a similar bill last year, citing a potential conflict with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing protests outside military funerals.

SB661 by Democratic Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance prohibits protests within 300 feet of funerals rather than the 1,000 feet specified in the previous bill. Violators face fines up to $1,000 and six months in jail starting Jan. 1.

The legislation is a response to protests of military funerals around the country by the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based group that says military personnel deaths are God’s punishment for society’s tolerance of homosexuality.

Brown announced the signing Monday.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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