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Wed March 2, 2011
Michigan funeral protest law in jeopardy
Michigan’s law barring protesters from funerals might be vulnerable after today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The nation’s highest court ruled in favor of an anti-gay group that pickets at military funerals.
Michigan, like dozens of other states, passed a law in 2006 to prevent the protests from disrupting funerals here.
At the time, the states were trying to prevent a fundamentalist Christian Church from Kansas from picketing military funerals.
The pickets were not opposing the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, but against gay rights.
The ACLU challenged Michigan’s law after a couple attending a family friend’s funeral was arrested for having anti-George W. Bush signs on their car.
Dan Korobkin, with the ACLU, says the new court ruling may be enough to tip the balance in their challenge to Michigan’s law:
“Laws that are created to stifle unpopular speech, which is what the law in Michigan was created to do, always end up backfiring and punishing innocent people.”
Korobkin says they hope to hear soon from the federal judge considering their challenge to the state law, "the federal judge who is overseeing that case has already indicated that it is probably unconstitutional, but he hasn’t taken the final step of striking it down," said Korobkin.