A sweeping veterans bill was passed by Congress this week that does include restrictions for protests held at the funeral of military personnel. This legislation will make it more difficult for Westboro Baptist Church to protest military funerals across the United States. The bill, which is titled “The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012,” is not waiting for the signature of President Barack Obama. According to the bill, protestors are not permitted to picket at military funerals two hours prior to or two hours following the services. The legislation also makes it illegal for protestors to be less than 300 feet from the family.
The portion of the bill regarding funeral protests was created by Senator Olympia Snowe, a Republican from Maine. She was urged to create this portion of the legislation by one of her teen constituents. Thousands of people began attending military funerals recently in an effort to counter-protest the protests of Westboro Baptist Church members.
In Missouri in July, a ‘human wall’ was created surrounding a church where a soldier’s funeral was being held. The ‘human wall’ was formed to keep the Westboro Baptist Church protestors from getting close to the church. In the same month, students and alumni from Texas A&M created a human wall to protect a military funeral from the protests of Westboro Baptist Church.