As a result of Westboro Baptist Church members who plan to picket the funeral of Christina Taylor Green, a nine-year old girl who was gunned down on Saturday among other victims, Arizona lawmakers approved emergency legislation that would ban protests at funerals in Arizona reports the Tucson Sentinel:
Lawmakers approved emergency legislation to head off picketing of the funeral of the nine-year-old girl gunned down in the attempt on the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
“We need to protect our grieving families from having to go through the pain of being exposed to protesters,” said Steve Farley, D-28, the House minority leader.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., said Monday it plans to picket the funeral of Christina Taylor Green on Thursday because “God sent the shooter to deal with idolatrous America.”
The church is known for picketing military funerals with signs saying “God hates fags” to draw attention to its view that the deaths are divine punishment for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuals.
The bill was passed with unprecedented speed.
Dozens of lawmakers co-sponsored the bill, and it sailed through the legislature within 90 minutes. The Senate committee hearing on the law took just 3 minutes.
“We realized that we did not have a statute like this in place,” Farley said.
40 other states have enacted laws against funeral protests, he said.
A two-thirds vote was required to pass the law as an emergency measure.
The bill passed the House 58-0, with 2 not voting, and passed the Senate 29-0, with 1 not voting.
Brewer is expected to sign the law Tuesday.
According to to the Sentinel, the Arizona bill is modeled after an Ohio law that was upheld by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.