Judge Upholds Part of Ohio Law Banning Picketing At Funerals

CLEVELAND (AP) - A federal judge in Cleveland yesterday upheld
significant portions of an Ohio law that limits when and where
people may protest at funerals.

The 2006 law was aimed at a small fundamentalist Kansas church
whose members picket burials of U-S troops killed in combat,
arguing that the deaths are God's punishment for homosexuals.

The law prohibited protesters from being within 300 feet of a
cemetery, funeral home, church or synagogue either one hour before
or after a burial service.

The Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union had
sought a federal restraining order, saying the state cannot pass a
law restricting freedom of speech.

But U-S District Court Judge Donald Nugent said the law gives
protesters ample alternatives to express their views.

However, Nugent struck down a portion of the law that placed a
300-foot, "floating buffer zone" around funeral procession
routes, saying it is unconstitutionally broad.