Small town mayor vows to stop protests at military funerals.
HOUSTON -- The mayor of Brazoria is taking a stand after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is legal for protesters to attend military funerals holding inflammatory signs with slogans like, "Thank god for dead soldiers."
Brazoria resident Dr. Bob Sweibel brought the court's 8 to 1 ruling, upholding the free speech rights of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest near military funerals, to Brazoria Mayor Ken Corley's attention.
"The Supreme Court judges may be very intelligent people, but they don't have the common sense of a goat," said Schweble.
So Brazoria Mayor Ken Corley is proposing a local ban.
"I think that it is way past time to stand up for what we believe in. That is what we are trying to do in small-town America," Corley said.
The proposed ordinance that will be considered by the Brazoria City Council on Tuesday would ban any protests within 1,000 feet of a funeral. It would be a misdemeanor that would carry a $500 fine.
The measure had plenty of support around town.
"Irregardless, if they are soldiers it is a person that has died and we need to respect their peace," said Brazoria resident Becky Danford.
But there is a problem.
"The law is declared by the U.S. Supreme Court," said 11 News Legal Expert Gerald Treece. "Even though it is vulgar, offensive -- it is bad on so many levels, but that is what the First Amendment protects, is vulgar, rude, offensive speech."
Corley said he knows a new law could make the small town a target for protests.
"I would hope not, but if in fact that happens, they will pay the price," he said.
The mayor said he expects the ordinance to pass Tuesday night and it would take effect immediately.
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