It looks like the Westboro Baptist "Church" is interpreting State Rep. Pat Rooney's military funeral buffer-zone bill as an invitation.
The Kansas crazies haven't placed it on their public schedule yet, but the Palm Beach Post reports the "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates Fags" sign-wielding loons are planning to protest the funeral of 24-year-old U.S. Army Spc. Jordan Christopher Schumann, who died Tuesday in Afghanistan.
The funeral arrangements haven't yet been made, the paper says, but Schumann's parents live in Port St. Lucie.
Rep. Rooney, from Palm Beach Gardens, announced late last week that he's introducing a bill to create a 500-foot buffer zone between "funeral services of soldiers, first responders, political figures, and minors" and people like the Westboro Baptist goofballs who try to protest it.
He tried to pass the bill in the last legislative session, with the same exact language except for a 1.5-mile buffer zone instead. It died in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
Several states have been introducing funeral buffer-zone regulations in state legislatures since a U.S. Supreme Court decision in March that threw out an $11 million judgment to the family of a Maryland man who died in Iraq, and his funeral was protested by the Westboro weirdos.
The only current Florida law related to protesting funerals makes it a misdemeanor for anyone who "disturbs" military funerals in the state -- but that law may not fly given the recent Supreme Court ruling.
Unless the Legislature gathers for an emergency session -- as was done in Arizona when the Westboro wackos planned to protest the funeral of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who died in the mass shooting in Tucson at the beginning of the year, in which six people were killed and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was seriously injured -- they may have to allow the Westboro nuts to harass everyone.
Even though other states have laws similar to Rooney's proposal on the books, "Pastor" Fred Phelps -- the chief headcase of Westboro Baptist -- tells the Post it's still in defiance of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"We anticipate filing suit if such a law is passed, as we have successfully done in other parts of the country," Phelps rants to the Post. "When a state, through its elected officials, lifts its middle finger against God's pronouncements and judgments, WBC gives such a state special attention."