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Carroll County To Push Back Funeral Protesters

WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ)—Controversial church group. The Westboro Baptist Church has made headlines across the nation for protesting military funerals, including here in Maryland. Now one county is taking steps to push them back if they protest again.

Gigi Barnett has the details.

They picket soldiers’ funerals. Back in March, the Supreme Court ruled that the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church has a first amendment right to do it.

But now in Carroll County, under a new law passed Wednesday night by county commissioners, the protest must be at least 1000 feet from a funeral or cemetery.

“We’re not saying that someone can’t protest or picket or exert their first amendment rights,” said Carroll County Commissioner Doug Howard.

Howard casted the deciding vote that broke the tie between other commissioners. He says ultimately the county wants to protect grieving families of soldiers killed at war.

“We firmly believe that if someone makes that sacrifice that we have an obligation as a community to protect them and basically respect their right to privacy,” he said.

The county says it had overwhelming support for the law, especially after Westboro Baptist picketed the funeral of fallen soldier and Carroll County native Matthew Snyder back in 2006.

“One thousand feet or better on something like that,” said Noel Grael, Carroll County resident. “They carry it a little too far, especially with something like that. When a person is grieving. How would they feel especially when one of their loved ones died and someone’s doing something like that?”

The state already has a law requiring demonstrator to be at least 500 feet from a cemetery or funeral. But Carroll County commissioners wanted more space.

“I was concerned that this was opening up Pandora’s box,” said Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothchild, who voted against the bill. He says it’s too broad and enforcement isn’t clear.

“What are you going to do? Go up to a group and say, ‘are you protesting the funeral or animal rights?’ and if they’re protesting animal rights a block away, you’re going to say you can’t do that because there’s a funeral a block away?” Rothschild said.

Demonstrators caught picketing within 1000 feet of a funeral could also receive a $1000 fine and/or up to six months of jail time.

Comments

One Comment

  1. CC Resident says:

    Dear Mr. Rothchild: If you can’t tell what is being picketing by their signs then you don’t deserve to be an elected official.

  2. Fred Auffarth says:

    WHY NOT DRAFT THEM ALL. I KNOW WE DON’T HAVE A DRAFT BUT WE CAN MAKE A SPECIAL EXCEPTION.

  3. Lauren says:

    CC Resident…AMEN!!!
    If they are protesting animal rights, just make sure it is 1000 feet away from a funeral so there is no confusion for our intelligent elected officials!

  4. PAUL E. MICELLI says:

    WHEN THEY PICKET THE ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES THAT WE ELECT THEN A LAW WILL FOLLOW ALLOWING NO PROTESTS AT ALL, I GUESS WE WILL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE.

  5. go to hell says:

    I hope these idiots rot in hell, im surprised someone hasnt flipped out and killed one of these mother f**kers….i know i wouldnt shed a tear!!

  6. Rich says:

    good, bout damn time we have a law like this… these arent humans, theyre rats……and no one likes a damn rat.

  7. joe ecko says:

    what jokers there doing the devils work and dont even know it they have way to much time on there hands

  8. joe says:

    joe ecko of the 90’s highlandtown boyyyyyyy

  9. Darrel says:

    A 1,000′ shot with a .308 between the eyes of these “protestors” would sure get their attention. Hey, I’m just using my first ammendment to make that observation.

  10. William Norvell says:

    A 1,000 ft is not far enought and to Mr Rothchild, if feel if it was your son or daughter you would think the same. But what get me the most is $1,000 fin and/or 6 months now that is a laugh in the face, more like a $10,000 fine and or 10 years, lets make them feel the pain too.

  11. john says:

    Those people need to take up something more constructive than what they are doing, like drinking.

  12. jack johnson says:

    man these protesters are gonna get beat up lol

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