Carroll Co. Considers Limiting Funeral Protests

CARROLL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)–Protests at Marine funerals and a Supreme Court ruling allowing them to go forward have sparked outrage. But Carroll County is at least hoping to push them back. Literally.

Alex DeMetrick reports it’s being prompted by the looming funeral of another Westminster Marine.

The Westboro Baptist Church came from Kansas to Westminster in 2006, uninvited and reviled by many for their belief America’s war dead are God’s punishment for America’s sins.

“God’s punishing this nation, and its weapon of choice is sending these children home dead from the battle,” said Shirley Phelps-Roper, Westboro Baptist Church.

It was extra pain the funeral of Lance Corporal Mathew Synder did not need. The family sued.

The case ended up in the Supreme Court. The family lost.

Free speech trumped personal hurt.

“Eight justices don’t have the common sense God gave a goat,” said Al Snyder, victim’s father.

This week, Staff Sergeant James Malachowski was killed in Afghanistan.

“I’ve never felt this much pain in my entire life,” said his mother. “My son is gone.”

“This recent tragedy put it on the map for us again,” said Doug Howard, Carroll County Commissioner.

So Carroll County commissioners are looking to put more than 100 feet between a protest and a funeral.

“We’ve talked about numbers like 500 feet or 1,000 feet,” Howard said. “With a full understanding of the need to respect people’s right to free speech, we’d like it to be far enough to respect the privacy of folks going through very difficult circumstances, obviously.”

If the county enacts new rules it would take at least 20 days to get it onto the books.

That’s not enough time for another military family facing a funeral. There is no indication the Westboro members are coming back, but after their Supreme Court win following the Westminster protest, there is worry they might.

The Maryland legislature is also debating an expanded buffer zone between protesters and funerals. If passed, it would apply statewide.

More from Alex DeMetrick
  • Leah C

    How about having them stand in hell with their protest signs? That would be adequate distance for me.

    • Fern Stokes Augusti

      Amen!!!! Sounds like a perfect distance to me.

  • Penny

    Why wont my comment show, i will sue for this!!

    • Bernard Mc Kernan

      Penny, Sue till the cows bark.

  • Penny

    This is what happens with the repeal of dont ask dont tell, its only going to get worse.. Who do you blame, the church for following their beliefs or the governent for cancealing this policy and saying that gga ys in the militaary are ok?? I blame the government, not the church. THe church should blame the ggays for going against their religion. IF the governemtn wanted this to stop, all they have to do is re-enact dont ask dont tell. Frikin idiots.

    • Sick of stupid

      I dont blame people for their beliefs…just their ignorance. How would they feel if were tehir son or daughter in that coffin….would they protest then?????

      • Dumbfounded

        i agree Sick of stupid. there should be protests in front of that baptist church – signs to read ‘you will go to hell for your stupidity’ they should be ashamed of themselves to call themselves Christians.

      • get out

        there are enuf people in westminster that would be honored to hold large american flags around the grieving family while they pay their respects to their loved ones

    • petfriend

      wow, based on your comment and the fact that you are obviously so distraught you cannot even type a single word correctly, not to mention having gone nuts when it was delayed and started screaming about suing as if there is some conspiracy to get you…you may want to seek some medical attention.

  • ProtesttheProtesters

    My comment didn’t post so i will try it again.

    To put it bluntly, these people are selfish and low class and clearly have no value of human life.

    A human is dead. A family and friends are mourning. What this person did in life doesn’t devalue the pain and suffering that is occurnig at the funeral, yet they have the audacity to add salt to their wounds?

    Because this individual made choices, he should not be buried or mourned? If their sons or daughters choice a lifestyle they don’t agree with (and maybe they have but are afraid to tell these people) does that mean they won’t mourn them when they are gone? How would they feel if they were on the other side of that fence they drew? I bet they’d be the first to protest the protesters!

    Do they picket sex offenders when they die? How about rapists? How about child molesters? How about murderers or convicted felons? Are they going to start segregating hair and eye color soon?

    Take your signs, stand our borders and start protesting the “United we fall” if our borders continue to be breeding grounds for the destruction of our country.

    Better yet – go home, get a life and take care of your family instead of attempting to destroy others.

  • pasfd

    Agreed Protestthe Protesters =)

  • Amanda Plaine

    Umm Penny you’re the freaking idiot, you must be joking with wise a** remark

  • Bernard Mc Kernan

    What a croc of s…t funerals are anyway. Preying on the bereaved, a tradition of fleecing Americans. Nothing but organic matter in that hole people, iF THEY COME BACK IT sure as hell isn;t going to be in that worn out body that failed them. Donte the good parts to the living & the rest to the wind.

  • petfriend

    I still wish everyone would stop referring to them as protesters…They are NOT protesting. They are simply slinging hatful words at people who are not even connected to what they dislike. That is not protest. Using that term just somehow gives them creedance. Please let’s start referring to them as hater slingers instead.

  • Jeb Bush

    Our gay troops are also exercising free speech by saying “Do Ask, Do Tell” now at – the New Social Network for Gay Service members.

  • ProtesttheProtesters

    Oh I like that petfriend. Hate slingers. Let’s add prejudice pigs too. As for Bernard, you are part of the problem too. Seriously, so you don’t believe in funerals or mourning – so what? These people are hurting, attempting to deal with their pain as they see fit. You mourn, or not, as you wish but the issue isn’t about funerals and your beliefs about the body but the pain and suffering, and how people deal with it, while others ADD to their pain. coming back, not coming back, funeral or no funeral – these people are attempting to deal with the reality of their life while others make it public and use it for their own motives.

    Disgusting hate slingers.

    • Bernard Mc Kernan

      ProtestTheProtestors, You’re being conned like the rest of the sheep. Thousands of years & tradition have made you this way but I prefer to give back something when I die instead of being a cold corpse in a $10k box to rot. Get real, how many people gonna remember you after your immediate family & then they won’t even come to your grave that will be plowed under in a hundred years for a new Walmart. No funerals means no protests, no fighting, A memorial service ? Yes, funerals for gawkers & the idiots to protest, no.

  • Carroll Co. Considers Limiting Funeral Protests | AliveStyle Magazine

    […] Carroll Co. Considers Limiting Funeral Protests The Maryland county where the Westboro Baptist Church won a free-speech victory is considering expanding the distance limits for funeral protests. Read more on CBS Baltimore […]



  • ken

    I am absolutely astounded that these are the only people in the known universe who know what is on GOD’s mind and can speak for him , the proverbial cat must have GOD’s tongue that he can’t speak for himself anymore ” AN EYE FOR AN EYE ,A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH . VENGEANCE IS MINE SAITH THE LORD ” GOD needs nobody to speak for him , who spoke for GOD before creation ? and what happened to ”THE WRATH OF GOD ” if someone has done wrong GOD will deal with them in his own time. ”JUDGE NOT, LEAST YE BE JUDGED”…..” WHAT EVER YE SHALL SOW , SO SHALL YE REAP ”…. ” WOE TO THE HYPOCRITES ” Self-righteousness (also called sententiousness, holier-than-thou[1]) is a feeling of (usually) smug moral superiority[2] derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person.

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