More than 2,300 U.S. troops have died since the war in Iraq began 3 years ago. One controversial group has been protesting the funerals of fallen heroes. So now, state representatives are introducing a bill on Tuesday that would force protestors to maintain a certain distance from funerals.
The “Let Them Rest In Peace Act”, spear-headed by Rep. Mike Merrifield (D) and Rep. Buffie McFayden (D), is in light of recent events. Last Saturday, members of the Westboro Baptist Group protested Sergeant Gordon Misner’s funeral, a soldier killed in Iraq. The group claims soldiers deserve to die fighting for a country that tolerates homosexuals.
Rep. Merrifield said their hateful behavior is outragous and this bill will stop that. “Disruptive and inflammatory comments and behavior will be prohibited one hour before, during and after funeral, within designated buffer zone, which is 500 feet." The other sponsor of the bill, Rep. McFadyen said this bill is necessary to respect the families of fallen heroes. “This will impact every funeral in the state, all funerals."
The two representatives said this doesn’t prohibit freedom of speech. “No one will tape the mouths of protestors shut, no one will put in a paddy wagon. They can protest if they wish, but those grieving will have the right to privacy," Rep. Merrifield said.
Colorado joins more than a dozen other states that are considering this bill, while four states have already passed similar legislation.