Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Anti-Westboro Protest Group Found To Have Violated Ordinance Against Picketing of Religious Event
In Topeka, Kansas yesterday. a municipal court judge imposed a $10 fine and $150 in court costs on each of four members of the Journey 4 Justice motorcycle counter-protest group for their Sept. 12 protest outside the Westboro Baptist Church. According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, the group which was formed in 2011 to counter-protest hate groups like the virulently anti-gay Westboro was found to have violated Topeka Municipal Code Sec. 9.45.140 which prohibits picketing a house of worship during an announced religious event carrying a banner, placard or sign. The court ruled that "banners" include American flags that the protest group was carrying, and that the ordinance applies during announced hours of religious services, whether or not services were actually taking place. Originally Topeka police merely asked the group to end their protest, but members of the group insisted that police issue a citation so that a court could clearly interpret the law.