FL Governor Makes Funeral Protests Illegal

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Rick Scott has signed into law a bill that expands a current ban on protesting to all types of funerals.

The governor this week signed the "Funeral Buffer" bill (HB 15) that was approved by the Legislature last month.

The legislation was 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 new law prohibits protesting or picketing within 500 feet of any funeral or burial.

The law applies from one hour before to one hour after the ceremony. A violation is a first-degree misdemeanor.

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