Arizona enacted a law on Tuesday that will forbid picketers to come within 300 feet of a funeral or burial service, a move meant to reduce the impact of planned protests of Arizona shooting victims by members of a Kansas-based church known for protesting the funerals of U.S. soldiers.
The penalty for violating the new law will be a misdemeanor.
Such despicable acts of emotional terrorism will not be tolerated in Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement after signing Senate Bill 1101 into law. This legislation will assure that the victims of Saturday's tragic shooting in Tucson will be laid to rest in peace with the full dignity and respect they deserve.
The state's legislature unanimously passed emergency legislation on Tuesday to outlaw picketing nearby.
Westboro Baptist Church had planned to picket the funeral of 9-year old shooting victim Christina Green of Tucson, Arizona, one of six killed by suspected shooter Jared Lee Loughner, who is expected to go on trial. Fourteen injured victims include Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who sustained a point-blank shot to the head which doctors say she will survive.
The church issued a statement last Saturday saying members of the church - which mostly include the Rev. Fred Phelps and his family - would picket the victims' funerals, saying God was avenging Himself for court and legal actions against the group by sending a shooter to kill the victims, which also included federal judge John Roll.
The church has previously said soldier deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are punishments for the United States' acceptance of homosexuality and abortion.