Law To Ban Fred Phelps - Westboro Baptist Church Funeral Protest
Arizona Legislature To Ban Fred Phelps And Westboro Baptist Church Protest Funerals For Victims Of Tucson Shooting (Fred Phelps Video)
Update: Arizona Funeral Protest Bill Passed
The Arizona Legislature has approved emergency legislation to head off picketing by a Topeka, Kan., church at the funeral service for a 9-year-old girl who was killed during Saturday's shooting in Tucson.
Unanimous votes by the House and Senate on Tuesday send the bill to Gov. Jan Brewer for her expected signature.
The bill prohibiting protests at or near funeral sites would take effect immediately.
The Arizona state legislature is hoping to pass a law banning protests at the funerals of the shooting victims of the Tucson Tragedy.
The action, according to Senate spokesman Daniel Scarpinato, is in direct response to a controversial church's announcement that it will picket the funeral of Christina Green, the 9-year-old who was one of six people killed Saturday during the attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, has made its name by staging protests at funerals of people who died of AIDS, gay people, soldiers and even Coretta Scott King.
Residents are understandably outraged about the planned protest announced by the attention seeking Fred Phelps, and the congregation at the Westboro Baptist Church.
Video: Fred Phelps, Westboro Baptist Church Hate Filled Call To Protest Funerals Of Arizona Shooting Victims
If Arizona lawmakers want the funeral protest ban law to pass they will have to act quickly.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the lead sponsor on the bill, said in an e-mail to colleagues that the plan is to suspend the rules Tuesday and fast-track the bill to protect the victims' families from the "hateful protest" from the Westboro Baptist Church.
She said she has the support of the Senate president and Gov. Jan Brewer, and the bill will go into effect "immediately" once it's signed.
"It's gonna happen," Sinema said. The senator said she was "real upset" after learning that the Westboro church planned on protesting but had a visceral reaction after reading their press release and sprung into action.