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Appeals Court Ruling May Spark Westboro Lawsuit Dismissal, County Officials Say

Westboro Baptist Church members filed a lawsuit against St. Charles County over its ordinance banning picketing within 300 feet of funerals.

A U.S. Court of Appeals ruling could lead to dismissal of a Westboro Baptist Church lawsuit against St. Charles County, officials said.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturned a lower court’s ruling against a City of Manchester ordinance that protects the rights of funeral attendees “to mourn in peace and privacy for a limited time in a limited space.”

The court concluded “that Manchester has shown a significant government interest in protecting the peace and privacy of funeral attendees for a short time in limited space.”

“This is a great, common-sense decision,” said St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann in a news release. “We’re confident it lays the groundwork for the case against St. Charles County to be dismissed.”

Westboro Baptist Church has become nationally known by protesting at funerals of about 500 soldiers killed in the country’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American Civil Liberties Union has represented Westboro in what it said is a First Amendment issue.

St. Charles County passed an ordinance similar to the one involved in the Manchester lawsuit. The law bans picketing within 300 feet of a funeral for an hour before through an hour after the service.

The city of St. Charles also passed a law identical to the St. Charles County ordinance.

For more information on Westboro Baptist Church and the lawsuit, see the following articles:

  • Council May Decide to Restrict Funeral Protests Tonight
  • Judge Blocks St. Charles County From Enforcing Ban on Funeral Picketing
  • Westboro Baptist Protest Draws Critics to St. Charles
  • St. Charles County Attorney Says Supreme Court Decision Won't Affect Lawsuit
  • St. Charles City Council Approves Funeral Picketing Ban
  • Westboro Baptist Church Protests at Fort Zumwalt East
Geri Greene October 18, 2012 at 02:06 PM
What a pathetic group of people these are and a complete waste of funds that the ACLU expends in representing them. At one time I was led to believe the ACLU represented people who could not afford to represent themselves, and that they chose causes worthy of our time and serious attention. If that was ever the case, "those were the days, my friend." The Westborough crowd is just pathetic as they spread their hatred down to young and formative minds - without any consideration for people who are in mourning. How would they react if someone interrupted one of their funerals with such venom and disrepect.
JP October 18, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Geri - I wanted to add to my comments to this article, but then I thought I couldn't say it any better then you have!!!!
Tony Capo October 18, 2012 at 08:10 PM
There is a simple way to keep them from picketing. Dont publicize the the event. Once you make a public statment then anyone is liable to answer it publicly. its that simple.
Tony Capo October 18, 2012 at 08:12 PM
those who hate truth , call truth hate.
Philip October 18, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Joe, Point well taken. I myself am retired from the Military and I think those protest are irrelevant, and disrespectful of the families of the deceased. Not to mention the soldier killed. Once in a while some common sense is needed to show respect. These soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen all died to protect our freedom of speech but they would be appalled by this level of disrespect shown to the fallen.
Tony Capo October 19, 2012 at 01:14 AM
They died for a paycheck and for gay marriage , Respect is earned not deserved. When america forsook God and allowed the unclean thing (sodomites) into the camp, the Lord departed. Why don't you just 'respect' the rule of law. the first amendment and avert your eyes if you see some words on a sign you don't like.
LO October 20, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Our military protect us, they have given us our freedom, and protect us from war in America. Some also give their lives for US. They deserve our respect and honor. We are ALL God's children and HE is the only one who should judge people. If the Westborough group and others don't like their freedom, maybe they should move to another country.
Tony Capo October 20, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Read the declaration of independence , the government or the military did not give us our freedoms they are given to us by GOD. All are not Gods children or Christ wouldnt have said , ''YOU are of your father the devil''. and If God is the only one that should judge people why the heck are you judging the WBC. maybe YOU should move to another country if you dont like WBC exercisng their fredoms under the constitution.
The Missourian October 20, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Tony - take your religious theocratic extremism and cram it. It's 2012.
Tony Capo October 23, 2012 at 06:23 PM
yes its 2012 , and so what., there were deviant perverts 3500 years ago living in Sodom when God destroyed it with fire and brimstone. Nothing new here you impudent ass. Extremism? teaching school children glbt filth IE cutting up your genitals and pumping yourslef full of chemicals and maquerading as the opposite sex is extreme. extremly depraved and sick.
Mike McKnight December 11, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Tony, you're a sore loser and who hasn't amounted to anything in life so you come on line to bash veteran's. Get out of here you fool.
Tony Capo December 13, 2012 at 02:44 AM
sore loser? the body bags keep comin home. thats a win win - you loser.

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