Florida Funeral Protest Ban Clears Senate Committee

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Picketing, protesting and other disturbances would be banned at all funerals and burials in Florida under a legislation that's on a fast track.
It would expand an existing ban that's limited to funerals and burials involving military honor details. Violators can face up to a year in jail.
The Senate version, Senate Bill 118, received final committee approval Tuesday. A similar bill, House Bill 15, earlier cleared all committees. Both now are ready for floor votes after the legislative session begins March 5.
Florida's existing law, a federal statute and similar legislation in other states are largely a response to military funeral protests by a Kansas-based church. The church contends God is punishing the United States for tolerating homosexuality. Protesters often carry signs with message such as "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

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