Without delving into a messy debate on the politics surrounding the freedom of speech, I think I speak on behalf of many Americans when I say I was heartened to learn that Congress passed restrictions this week to limit the lengths to which protesters from the notorious Westboro Baptist Church can go in attempt to hijack military funerals and use them as a platform for their radical beliefs.
The restrictions were part of a larger veterans bill passed earlier this week, which now heads to President Obama.
The bill includes language that bans protesters from demonstrating two hours immediately prior and following a military funeral, and stipulates that they remain at least 300 feet away from the funeral procession at all times.
In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that military protests, such as those staged by the Westboro Baptist Church, were protected by the First Amendment. The restrictions placed in the veterans bill stem from widespread dissatisfaction with last year’s ruling.
President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law later this month.