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California Bill To Keep Protesters Away From Military Funerals

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SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — A bill designed to keep protesters away from military funerals heads to the governor’s desk after it overwhelmingly passed the California Senate.

SB888 by Democratic Sen. Ted Lieu of Torrance was approved 36-1 Monday after unanimously passing the Assembly last week. Democratic Sen. Loni Hancock of Berkeley voted against the legislation, saying it violated free speech rights.

The bill is a response to demonstrations by members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a Topeka, Kan.-based group that has been demonstrating outside military funerals across the country. The group said the deaths are God’s way of punishing tolerance of homosexuality.

The group’s right to protest was upheld in March by the U.S. Supreme Court. The California legislation said protesters must not be within 1,000 feet of a funeral held on private property.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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