Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs bill limiting funeral protests
A shrine to the victims of a shooting rampage Saturday in Tucson, Arizona, grows larger Tuesday.
January 11th, 2011
09:15 PM ET

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs bill limiting funeral protests

[Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET] Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed emergency legislation Tuesday night setting limitations on protests at funerals. The bill is aimed at the Westboro Baptist Church, which plans to picket the funerals of those who died in Saturday's shootings.

[Posted at 5:50 p.m. ET] The Arizona Legislature unanimously has passed a bill meant to stop church from protesting at funerals of Tucson shooting victims.

The vote was 29-0 in the state Senate and 58-0 in the state House. A spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer earlier told CNN that she was prepared to sign the bill.

Read more about the legislation
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Filed under: Arizona • Gabrielle Giffords • Politics
soundoff (258 Responses)

    The world is going to hell on a bullet train. Who are they to protest anybody.They are NO CHURCH ! I dont believe for a minute that the lord Jesus would do that so what gives them the right to do it in his name ? THEY ARE NO CHURCH !!!

    January 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • JackieInDallas

      You are correct. They are no church that Christ would recognize.

      January 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • greglorius

      Christianity started as a cult, it's leader achieved crucification status among the Romans! Augustus, son of the god Julius Ceasar!

      January 11, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • MKThompson

      Unfortunately b/c they are wackos those fools won't go away that easily. However, they will be repaid, Christ does not like to have His Name taken in vain.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDJ

      YBP...Jesus was a real man, whether or not he was the son of "God" is a different matter.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • VicVic

      I am not a big fan of any religion, and believe there is a little truth in all of them. I do not believe that any God or Divinity would punish an innocent child to teach a lesson. This entire situation was tragic, possibly unavoidable, but not in any way the fault or punishment of any body of peoples.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zeus

      Hear Ye!

      January 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • rosina218

      I agree who gives anyone the Right to judge anyone in the Lord's Name if anything that is the worest sin ever thats usin his name in vain because the Last I heard and know we have a loving and caring God...... Anyone that does that is no better than the killers, ect... out there. WE should worry about are own sins and leave others alone. Prayers go out to the families that have lost a loved one in this careless act, which had no meaning to it...May God be with you in your time of sorrow.....

      January 11, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • No Lie

      The same right that you are exercising here on this blog.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • greglorius

      For Christs' sake, the romans crucified terrorists! Hail Ceasar!

      January 11, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tired of Business as usual...

      To: "Greglorious" and "Therearenogods"...
      there are one of two places to spend eternity. Heaven or Hell.
      The choice is an individual one and it seems you both made yours.
      There is no argument in the matter, and no matter how much you try
      to deny the existence or proof of existence of anyone's belief in God,
      YOU will not change the fact that there are two choices. Only two.
      We have made ours...too bad for you two.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann Smith

      I am so happy and relieved that the AZ legislature passed a law forbidding protests at these funerals. The members of the Westboro gang are NOT Christians since they are spitting on Jesus's command to love others no matter what. They are hate mongers. I hope the United States Congress passes the same law so it will be a federal law. Protests at funerals are not examples of Freedom of Speech. This disgrace is a supreme abuse of that Right and is the same as yelling "Fire!" in a crowded building when there is no fire. The only difference is it causes emotional damage instead of physical damage as a stampeding crowd can do. These horrible people must be stopped. They can protest all they want somewhere else but NOT at a funeral, anyone's funeral !!!

      January 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • lewtwo

      While there may be a question about the legitimacy of this church, there is question about their status as hypocrites.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • greglorius

      render under to Ceasar that is Ceasars' , the coin read: Augustus, son of the god, Julius Ceasar!

      January 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • H

      christianity is a cult.....

      your entire religion is based on the idea that some dude who lived over 2000 years ago was god simply because he said so, started a cult, was killed for causing mayhem, and then some guys got together and wrote a story about him and told everyone he was god and for thousands of years now people have been gullible enough to believe it.

      If I wrote a book today describing some guy who did all the stuff the bible says jesus did then people would say I was mentally ill

      January 11, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick from LA

      Judge not lest ye be judged yourself.

      Why don't these people go protest at a funeral for a drug dealer? I would love to see what happens.

      January 11, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • zenichi-maro

      funny how nobody cared about Phelps and his gang of thugs when they were just protesting the funerals of gay men. Matt Sheppard was brutally murdered and left to die on a fence in Wyoming and these sickos had the nutz to protest his funeral. where was the outrage?

      still, i'm glad the dominant culture is now paying attention.


      January 11, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      @There are no gods!
      You have absolutely no right to question other peoples ability to reason. You're clearly just a religion hater and have done no research of your own. Don't for a second think you're so brilliant that you've got everyone else all figured out. You have no idea what other people have been through with their beliefs.
      The bible is the most knoledgable book ever written and the most historically enlightening. It is the height of ignorance for anyone to doubt the existance of Jesus just based on the biblical record and it's accuracy. That's without even taking in to account the hoards of non biblical evidence. If you're not aware of any of this evidence then why are you bothering to comment on it?
      Then there's your extremely ignorant lecture on what scientists have supposedly found which you have merely taken at face value once again without bothering to do any research of your own. You have no business getting in to a debate with anyone about evolution, science, religion, the bible, or history. Yet more often then not people like you are the first ones to spread hate and "set people straight".

      January 11, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • J Miller

      It is amazing to me that these fools have not been stopped.

      January 11, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • zenichi-maro

      @ Tired: Congratulations! You know the mind of the Ultimate Divine Reality! How nice for you! And how nice that your god will send countless millions of humans to some artifice of man called H-E-L-L. That must be really, really satisfying to sit there in your comfortable chair and pass judgement on the rest of humanity. Cuz, clearly, YOUR god did not create any buddhists (like me) or muslims or jews or hindus or rastafarians or atheists or whatev. Nope. Justa buncha confused people who will randomly be sent to one of the only two choices available.

      I reject you and your god entirely. I look forward to discussing this with you in the next life.

      January 11, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      I believe that there is a gross breach of the first amendment. No where in the first amendment does it give anyone the right to trample on a person's dignity. These inhumane people from the church in Kansas who have nothing better to do than protest at honorable soldiers, and honorable American's funerals, should be punished for crimes against human dignity, decency. My greatest hope is that our congress put aside differences and create legislation that would forever uphold the dignity of all Americans!

      January 11, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. M.

      I completely agree with you! Why have the other states let this happen???? It is time to stand up to these fools! You are right they are hiding behind some pretend religion. No God would want someone to protest at a funeral. They should be completely ashamed of themselves. They are a bunch of sicko's to protest outside a innocent victim of a crime much less a child. EVERY STATE needs to have a law against protesting at a funeral. Grow up sorry excuses for humans. I hope folks start call their state representatives to form the same type of law!!!!

      January 11, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Dance

      Good thing religion doesn't breed ignorance.

      January 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      There is little I like about Arizona, but they got this one right,

      January 11, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • T Randow

      I am glad AZ will pass a law that will stop protesting at funerals.
      I hope the US House and Senate will follow.

      January 11, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phaedrus

      Let our athesist friends answer a basic question: Why is there something rather than nothing? They will likely go on about how, given enough time, complexity and order simply manifest from a primordial soup of chaos and nothingness. From this dark brew the world as we know it, infinitely amazing in its richness, fine tuned order, and beauty, is, they say, the product purely of blind chance. They promote chance and chaos to god status and then look down their noses at those who believe in and experience God the Creator first hand in their everyday lives. I have a hard time imagining a more narrow minded and unreasonable world view. This blind faith in chance is matched in ignorance only by "believers" who attempt to hijack the Source of Being and Mind (as if it's possible for the finite to bottle up the infinite) in mindless and cruel cults like the one led by this hate filled Phelps freak.

      The height of human arrogance is to state that "There are no gods!" as if it were unreasonable to believe in an Intelligent Source of Being that was the first cause of the universe. The question is simply beyond scientific reach given that science itself studies what already exists - it by definition can't study reality before the first moment of creation. Natural science studies nature AFTER the fact of its creation. Pre-Universe reality is outside of the domain of science. Now we enter the realm of common sense - whereby the athesists tell us that it is unreasonable to believe that all of the order and complexity of the universe manifested from a primordial soup of chaos and mindless nothingness. Given enough time, they say, nothingness and chaos conspire to create the vast and rich diversity of life and infinitely complex levels of order that we witness everyday, all around us. Let them answer the simple question - why is there something rather than nothing?

      January 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. HI-IQ

    The day the press stops paying attention to those wackos will be the last time a family's right to grieve in peace will be violated.

    January 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teri

      Amen to that, no press = no protests.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • greglorius

      When the lamestream media quits making a hero out of that murderer, because they think it helps obama!

      January 11, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • LogicalnLA

      The press didn't report their presence at the funeral of the soldier until AFTER they disrupted the funeral.
      The press has a lot of faults but they don't promote this particular group in advance except like in this instance, when they announce they will be protesting. – had they not put this in print, the Arizona legislature would not have acted as fast as they didon banning these protests.
      It will be contested in the courts by the Phelps- as it has in the past- and they won, but for this weekend, they will most likely be stopped.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      If you look at some of WBC's protests on youtube the press is not involved. Most videos are taken by people trying to show what loons these people are.

      MR. Loughner obviously has a screw loose for shooting people based on what ever psychotic conspiracy he thought of. However so is the WBC to do all this protesting based on the fact people are gay is crazy. Protest soldiers funerals because the US does not arrest gays? That is crazy! What is to say they will not start shooting people?

      January 11, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • trex

      I live out of AZ, BUT, knowing the gun laws in AZ is very liberal, I would NOT want to be anywhere near those monsterous protesters.

      January 11, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      I disagree. My understanding is that they are so offensive and outrageous because they do their best to incite violation of their 'rights' so they can sue. This is how they make a living. So the press isn't as important as the lawsuits.

      January 11, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. PartisanSheep

    Maybe some paint ballers should happen to drive by and open fire by accident. I too am sick of the snakes in society twisting God's message for their own ego and amusement. Someone is going to off one of these kooks eventually.

    January 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • JackieInDallas

      Please, no calls for violence, even in jest or frustration. Controlling their access is the common sense thing to do, and also boycotting those media outlets that continue to furnish them with coverage ad nauseum would be appropriate. They are expressing their freedom of speech and religion, but it has to stop when it starts to interfere with those same practices by others. Picketing this precious little girl's funeral because they hate Catholics is hateful enough that it speaks for itself as to the true Christianity of these people.

      January 11, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • nst101

      They want someone to be violent to them so they can sue. The "church" is made up of mostly (over 90%) Fred Phelps' family and many of them have law degrees. They are waiting for someone to take major action against them and most likely already have lawsuits written up for all possibilities.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • YBP

      @ nst101: How many of them have law degrees? I know of one? The ugly daughter. You know of many?

      January 11, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • donkey1983


      January 11, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • bscot

      Of the entire family, 12 or so of them have law degrees. They make their money by suing cities/counties for failing to protect them if assaulted, violations of civil rights, etc.

      January 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sburg

    no reason to protest at a funeral definatly the wrong place and time for that. go protest in front of the white house like everyone else has since its been there.

    January 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy

    Funerals are no places for protests of ANY matter what the agenda. These nutbags are only making themselves hated, and any message that they're trying to put across is lost in the sheer crassness of the venue they have chosen to protest in.

    January 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vince

    They are part of the extreme right of America, along with the Tea Party Movement that is now in remorse... Too little, obviously, too late...

    January 11, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • nst101

      While I do not like the Tea Party, I would never compare them to the Westboro church. Those people make everyone look like a liberal!

      January 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle G.

      If you're going to compare this 'church' to the Tea Party, you're an idiot. How about I start to draw comparisons between left wing extremist groups and Democrats? It would be equally idiotic.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • YBP

      @ nst101: There's nothing wrong with being a Liberal. Liberal simply means 'free.'

      January 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • KingCorran

      @ YBP

      There's nothing wrong with being a conservative. 'Conservative' simply means 'moderate'.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jed

      That's funny he ran as a democrat

      January 11, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      Actually, conservative doesn't just mean moderate. Moderate means moderate. It's in the middle of liberal and conservative. Conservative really means "tight". As in tight, small boxed thinking. It's like the opposite of free, in a big way.

      January 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Of the few teapartiers I know – I think they are equal to these folks. So the comparison between dems and the left doesn't fit.

      January 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pkm

    If they protest drag them to the police car i hope us marshals ard there to keep the peace

    January 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • JackieInDallas

      Better yet is the movement by people all over the state of Arizona, and even nationally, to make angel wings to screen them from the funeral cortage and the media. Let them picket and express their doctrine of hate until people realize that they are not worth listening to...

      January 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Erin

    This is not a church-it is a sick cult wih in-breeding issues. Sorry to say that even the extreme right detest these wacko's......please don't make the actions of this cult and turn it around to make it political. It is not about poltics-they are ill.

    January 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Vince

    Sarah Palin left this comment by a fan on her fanpage for a whole day while she took down immediately, all infavorable comments to her. This fan refers to the little girl as a bleeding heart liberal who was a future Hitler, and asking Sarah if she wouldn't have wanted to kill Hitler as a child if she could, that the girl deserved to die... Disgusting Sarah Palin. Look for it online... it is disgusting and Sarah Palin, you are not a human, you are a disgusting waste of life. God will punish you for all your evils and the horrible things you've put into this world...

    January 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • YBP

      Unfortunately, there are no gods. Perhaps you hadn't heard. Most people have been taught otherwise. But, in real life, there is no celestial dictator who is going to enact whatever it is that you have been made to believe is justice in some kind of neverending afterlife. No gods, no devils, no magic, no afterlife. So, justice must be done in this life, on this planet, with real laws, with real prisons, and with real consequences.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • LMG

      Did you not learn anything from the horrible event that just took place in AZ?! Geez...stop with all the hate! BTW..I am a democrat. I am begging people like you STOP...STOP...STOP!!!

      January 11, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark

      I cringe at the thought that she might someday have the power to launch the nukes. She's just so stupid.

      January 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vince

    You are poison to the Republican Party and you need to leave politics. I don't want you in my party anymore - get the heck out you witch of Alaska...

    January 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Longarm175

    As a law enforcement officer, former military member, father and husband, I cannot express the respect that I have for the example the Arizona government as set with their votes in this matter. This time, the people were listened to. Good job & god bless

    January 11, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • steeve-o

      Agreed. One down, forty nine to go.
      Better yet, federal legislation should be in order.

      January 11, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Longarm175

    Oops. Meant to type out : God Bless. Sorry.

    January 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mikey

    All that needed to happen was to have the owner of the cemetary to call the cops when they set foot inside the gates no laws needed to be made but it is a nice thing they did which now will be taken to court as a right to free speech thing. but they are trespassing on private land when the cops are called and i bet no one in arizona even tought of that and westboro is no church as others have said just a bunch of loser wackos

    January 11, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justamom

      Our cemetaries aren't that huge in Tucson. The protestors could, by that logic, sit just outside the gates on the sidewalk. This law, however, will ensure a little more peace for the mourners.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Richard

    I take my hat off for Arizona. It is so wonderful to see a state deal with these very hateful people.

    January 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nst101

    The Westboro people are sick, but a lot of them also have law degrees... They will use this ruling to say that their Free Speech rights are being taken away. They want to be involved in scandal. They want to be drug to court. They want to be arrested. They want to be physically harmed. If any of those happen, they will sue as fast as they can and would hope that their trials would be front page news. They feed on the attention.

    January 11, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kansan

      The Phelps Law Firm in Topeka Kansas is made up of mostly family members of the Westboro "church" and the way they finance their church is through the court system. They will sue any police department that fails to provide protection for them while they protest. They win most of the lawsuits that go to trial and the ones that don't are usually settle out of court and the expenses of the lawsuit are recovered by them if that happens. They nknow the system and use their knowledge to the fullest extent possible.

      I do not condone any of their actions and want everyone to know that no one in Kansas is in support of what they do.

      Our respects to the families of those who died and wishes for a speedy recovery for the wounded. God bless you all.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • marcinhouston

      That is why a Branch Dividian type result is the solution that our policies should strive for.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandra

      They can claim their rights are being taken, but proving it is another thing. You have the right to speak loudly in a library, but they have the right to have you tossed out and to ban you from returning.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      Then maybe our best hope is for Kansas to disbar ALL members of this family. Then no money for them

      January 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justamom

      Let them sue. It's not like Arizona hasn't had its share lately! My understanding is that there have also been successful laws similar to this–the key being that the law restricts anyone protesting, not just these kooks. Yes, perhaps it feeds them with publicity, but I think in this case restrictions will also preserve the public peace and perhaps lives.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
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