A new law in California titled SB 661 makes picketing targeted at funerals a misdemeanor for one hour before till one hour after a funeral service.
The new law directly affects the practices of a minuscule church that has received national attention for their obsession with the LGBT community. As part of their campaign, the organization advocates picketing funerals of soldiers or other prominent leaders, and even children, brandishing hateful words against homosexuals and people who condone them.
Several non-profit groups, including the Anti-defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, have labeled the organization a hate group, and now there is a widely popular petition for the U.S. government to do the same. The petition skyrocketed with signatures when members of the group expressed their intention to picket at the funerals of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. In a twitter posting a representative of the group said “God sent the shooter.”
Unfortunately, Westboro thrives on their media exposure, as their extreme statements consistently reach a national, and even global exposure, despite their significantly divergent beliefs and small presence within the Christian community. When Westboro threatened to picket the Cross Points Church in Tennessee, Pastor Pete Wilson said:
“pray for them, we all know that hurt people, hurt people, and I have no clue what they might be going through in their life, but I can’t imagine how miserable it would be to go through life viewing God in this kind of distorted way.”
Hopefully with the passing of SB 661, Californians will see less and less of this hate group or any others. In total, Governor brown signed 876 new laws in 2012, far surpassing the legislative efforts of the U.S. Congress.