OH SNAP — "My friend Hillary created a powerful poster to combat the venomous Westboro Baptist Church protesters in Washington D.C. Friday. Solution to bigotry? A 'Sassy Gay Friend' reference of course!" Like this one. [Hillary Wass via Buzzfeed]
The Arizona legislature has passed emergency legislation ensuring a 300-ft distance between the Westboro Baptist Church and funerals of Tucson shooting victims this weekend, ABC15 reports:
Arizona State Representative Kyrsten Sinema said when she heard of the plans, she got downright angry and decided to take action.
Sinema sponsored Senate Bill 1101 and got some help from fellow legislators.
"We patterned legislation after Ohio's law which is constitutional, it’s been upheld in court, and I got permission from the speaker and the senate president to wave the rules," Sinema said.
That bill was passed just before 3 p.m. Tuesday, and is expected to be signed by Governor Brewer, tonight.
"The bill requires them to be at least 300 feet away from the funeral from an hour before the funeral starts to an hour after it ends and that way people can grieve and love in peace," Sinema said.
The legislation is said to be similar to what 40 other states have currently adopted.
Shortly after the shooting, the hateful church announced plans to picket the funerals, accompanied by a video from WBC Fred Phelps. The plans inspired a counter protest to raise funds for the Anti-Violence Project of Southern Arizona.
Hoping to beat the Supreme Court in screwing with the Westboro Baptist Church's travel plans, lawmakers in Arizona are rushing through a bill that would prevent protests within 300 feet of a funeral or burial service, from an hour before to an hour after the event, effectively barring the Phelps clan from demonstrating at 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green's service on Monday. Green was among those killed during Saturday's Safeway shooting, and Westboro quickly announced plans to escort her body into the ground. That said, the bill will only make it a misdemeanor to show up within the safety zone, and I think Shirley Phelps would be willing to become a semi-martyr for a community service conviction.
OH SNAP — Having been granted a permit to protest outside Elizabeth Edwards' funeral today in Raleigh, the Westboro Baptist Church did just that. We spotted this TwitPic uploaded by Megan Phelps. Isn't it nice to see strong women supporting each other?
An 26 year-old veteran who lost both his legs in Iraq has been charged with stalking members of the Westboro Baptist Church after police found him following the Westboro family van in a car stocked with handguns, a rifle, and dozens of rounds of ammunition.
Sedgwick County sheriff’s detectives arrested Newell mid-morning Tuesday in the Wichita City Hall parking lot after a detective saw him following a van that carried Westboro church members. The church members were meeting in City Hall with police officials. Detectives found Newell in a vehicle backed into a parking space. In the vehicle, investigators found two handguns, a rifle and more than 90 rounds of ammunition, sources have said. The stalking charge accuses Newell of actions targeted at Westboro members and putting them in fear for their safety. The weapons charges accuse him of unlawfully carrying and concealing or possessing with “intent to use” an M4 rifle, .45-caliber Glock handgun and .38-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun.
At Newell’s arraignment several lawyers arrived to offer pro bono defense services, prompting the judge to quip, “The more, the merrier.” Reportedly “many other lawyers” have contacted him with the same offer. Newell, who uses a wheelchair due to difficulties adjusting to Army-supplied prosthetic legs, pleaded not guilty via a video link from his cell. He is being held on 0,000 bond on one felony and several misdemeanor charges. Other charges may be filed pending the result of an FBI search of his home.
Westboro’s Megan Phelps comments on Twitter: “Peacefully protesting institutionalized sin on public sidewalks =\= loading up your car with weapons & lying in wait to commit murder. But somehow, in the totally backward minds of many of you, the former (loving our neighbor) is worse than the latter (planning murder)! Wtf?” Phelps claims that Newell was planning to murder her parents and the 26 children in the Westboro clan.
A defense fund has been set up for Newell via several popular conservative websites. Late this afternoon the Facebook page “Let Ryan Newell Go” was established. Westboro will continue with their planned Hanukkah picket of a Harvard student Jewish group tomorrow.
How two members of Westboro Baptist Church’s aggressively anti-gay Phelps family do it:
Hmm..the form’s not terrible, especially in the case of Jael (on the left). But I don’t know — the costumes and setting leave me kind of cold, and not in that good, nippy, holiday way. The wrapped package that the other one (Sarah, I believe) is holding isn’t wrapped in anything resembling tinsel. Plus call me a sucker for nostalgia if you must, but there’s just something about the Radio City stage that seems far more festive as a dance floor than does our nation’s treasured flag.
So yea: Santa’s little helpers for the win! Better luck next year, those rehearsing for Satan’s choreographed arrival!
Once again the Westboro Baptist Church's threats of a protest — over Buffalo Grove High School student production of The Laramie Project — end with a no-show by the Kansas-based circus, leaving these Chicago-area high schoolers waving signs around for nobody but reporters' cameras.
So how did yesterday's Westboro Baptist/FirstAmendment oral arguments go in front of the Supreme Court? Like this: The justices felt bad for the Snyder family, which had to have the funeral for their military son turned into a public spectacle. (Ruth Bader Ginsburg: "This is a case about exploiting a private family's grief." Elena Kagan: Westboro was "taking advantage of a private funeral to express their views." Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer said they want to see people behind outrageous attacks sued.) But the justices also indicated they were going to be very cautious (and rightfully so) about doing anything that would chip away at free speech rights. (Sonia Sotomayor: "What case stands for the proposition that public speech or speech on a public matter directed toward a private person should be treated differently depending upon the recipient of the speech?")
“The Osbourne’s are disgusted and appalled that WBC would use Ozzy’s music to represent such hateful and despicable beliefs. We have absolutely no affiliation with the WBC and are deeply sorry to the Snyder family.” – The Osbourne family reacting to the Phelps family singing a parody of Crazy Train on the steps of the Supreme Court yesterday.
The Westboro Baptist Church picketed the White House yesterday in advance of their appearance before the Supreme Court today where the father of a slain U.S. Marine is asking that his M judgment against the Phelps family be reinstated.
Albert Snyder, of York, Pa., took legal action after church members picketed the funeral of his son. “My son and the hundreds of thousands of other men and women who have died for this country worked too hard to preserve our freedom of speech than to have it mocked and cowardly stood behind like this church does,” Snyder said. The church members claim America’s acceptance of homosexuality and abortion are some of the reasons for all of its problems. In 2006, church members demonstrated at Matthew Snyder’s funeral. His father sued and in 2007, a jury ordered the church to pay million US. That penalty was later reduced to million. The verdict and penalty were later overturned on appeal.
Westboro is being represented by the ACLU. If you can bear it, Megan Phelps is live-tweeting the proceedings.