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Fallin Signs New Funeral Protest Restrictions (Apr 18, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation into law that adds restrictions on members of a Kansas church who protest at funerals of fallen soldiers.

The bill by Sen. Josh Brecheen of Coalgate would prohibit protests within two hours before or after a funeral. It also increases from 500 feet to 1,000 feet the distance from a funeral that a protest can occur.

Brecheen has said the bill targets protests by the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The group has protested at the funerals of several fallen soldiers in Oklahoma, claiming that God is punishing America for its tolerance of homosexuality.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the protests are constitutional. Fallin says the new law will help protect grieving families from people trying to exploit their suffering.

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