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Tampa Tribune: Rubio Supports Bill to Bar Protesters From Military Funerals

Apr 21, 2011 | News

The proposed law would increase penalties and allow for two hours of quiet time and a buffer of 300 feet at military funerals.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has joined 13 other senators in a proposal to bar demonstrators from creating disturbances at military funerals.

The bill dubbed, SERVE for Sanctity of Eternal Rest for Veterans, seeks to balance the rights to free speech with the rights of a grieving family to lay veterans to rest without harassment from outside groups.

By outside groups, the senators mainly are speaking about the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., which travels around the country protesting military funerals because of the military’s toleration of gays in its ranks. Members of the church show up at funerals with signs that say “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “You’re Going to Hell.”

The last time protesters from Westboro Baptist Church came to Florida was to stage a demonstration outside a Bon Jovi concert at the St. Pete Times Forum in April 2010, but has shown up at the funerals of two West Central Florida soldiers over the past four years.

Read the full story here.