Judge backs St. Charles Co. funeral protest law

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge has ruled in favor of St. Charles County’s limits on protests outside funerals.

The law is aimed at keeping away protesters such as those from Westboro Baptist Church, the Topeka, Kan.-based church that often protests at funerals for members of the military.

U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig on Tuesday sided with St. Charles County, near St. Louis. The law prohibits protests within an hour and within 300 feet of a funeral or burial service.

Plaintiffs from Westboro Baptist had claimed that enforcement of the ordinance violated their First Amendment rights and Missouri’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. They filed the suit soon after the law was passed in December 2010.

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