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Judge says Missouri funeral protest ban unconstitutional

By Associated Press

Jefferson City, MO – A federal judge has ruled that Missouri's ban restricting protests at funerals is unconstitutional.

Monday's ruling affects restrictions targeting a Kansas church whose members have picketed outside the funerals of people killed during the Iraq war. A church leader filed a lawsuit challenging the law.

Missouri's law bars protests near any funeral, procession or memorial service from an hour before until an hour after the service. A complementary law specifically states that protesters must stay back at least 300 feet.

But Judge Fernando Gaitan ruled that the Missouri law infringes on free speech rights.