Sen. Brecheen advances measure to shield mourners at military funerals
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Published: 16-Feb-2011
Legislative Staff Release

Published 16-Feb-2011

State Sen. Josh Brecheen has won committee approval for legislation aimed at better shielding mourners of fallen soldiers from protesters.  Senate Bill 406 was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Current law bans protesters from picketing funerals for an hour before and after the service.  They’re also prohibited from picketing any closer than 500 feet of where the funeral is being held.  Brecheen’s legislation increases the moratorium on picketing to two hours before or after a service and increases the distance to 1000 feet.

“I was contacted by constituents after protestors showed up at an Oklahoma military funeral last year,” said Brecheen, a Coalgate Republican.  “By doubling the time prohibiting picketing, as well as the distance, we can better protect those individuals who are already in a state of emotional distress.  Oklahomans should be allowed to mourn our fallen heroes in dignity.”

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church have protested at several military funerals throughout the country, including the funeral of Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey of McAlester last November.  The Kansas group claims the deaths of soldiers are God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality.
S.B. 406 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

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