Fla. funeral protest ban clears House

Posted at 5:35 PM, Mar 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-13 13:46:17-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida House has approved legislation that would expand a current ban on protesting to all types of funerals.

The "Funeral Buffer" bill (HB 15) was passed Wednesday by a vote of 116-0. It next goes to the Senate.

The legislation mostly is a response to military funeral protests by a Kansas-based church.

The Westboro Baptist Church congregation claims God is punishing the United States for tolerating homosexuality. Protesters often carry signs saying "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

The House bill prohibits protesting or picketing within 500 feet of any funeral or burial. The proposed law would apply from one hour before to one hour after the ceremony. A violation is a first-degree misdemeanor.