Picketing Funerals Could Soon Be a Crime
Bill pending in legislature could make picketing funerals criminal disorderly conduct
Picketing funerals could be labeled as criminal disorderly conduct under a bill pending in the legislature.
At their press availability Monday morning, members of the House majority said they are willing to test the constitutionality of restricting protest activities just before, during and just after the funeral services.
The bill would create a 150-foot buffer zone at cemeteries, churches and mortuaries during services, as well as an hour before and after.
“Freedom of speech works in both directions,” said Representative Carl Gatto. “Right to freedom of speech can be overrun by your right to freedom of speech. So should mine be secondary to yours, or yours secondary to mine? I think this tends to clarify where the limits of mine end, and that was at that number of foot distance."
The Westboro Baptist Church, in Kansas, has become notorious for sending protestors to military funerals, proclaiming, “God likes dead soldiers because of America’s tolerance for homosexuality.”
The representatives say they are not aware of any such activity in Alaska, but want to head it off.