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Mass. To Continue To Enforce Funeral Protest Rules

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(AP Graphic)

(AP Graphic)

BOSTON (AP) – Attorney General Martha Coakley says Massachusetts will continue to enforce state law that keeps protesters at least 500 feet from a funeral despite last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the right of a Kansas church group to picket military funerals.

Coakley told The Boston Globe she will advise police to continue to enforce a 500-foot buffer zone around funerals to prevent disruptions. She says police have discretion in maintaining order and that the Massachusetts law strikes a balance between protesters’ free speech and the rights of military families.

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., exercised their right to free speech when they picketed the Maryland funeral of a Marine killed in Iraq and carrying inflammatory messages such as, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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