SALEM, EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – In an effort aimed at protestors, Oregon's state lawmakers
have passed a bill to crackdown on unruly behavior near funerals.
The Oregon State House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012, to modify Oregon's law on disorderly conduct.
The bill makes it a class A misdemeanor for “loud, rude, rough, coarse or disrespectful” behavior within 200 feet of a property that a funeral is being held on.
Lawmakers say the bill was inspired by aggressive funeral protests by groups like the Westboro Basptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. The bill is an effort to protect grieving individuals and families from those protests.
The Westboro Baptist Church is nationally known for protesting the funerals of U.S. Soldiers from the recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The church believes that the deaths are “God's way” of expressing anger towards the country's tolerance of homosexuality.
Although the Westboro Baptist Church has never protested at a funeral in Eugene, Jeff Musgrove of Musgrove Family Mortuaries says he's glad to see the law come up.
“My heart just goes out to the family and the people that are attending service. They have so much on their plate that they don't need to be dealing with some political issue that has nothing to do with the death of their loved one,” says Musgrove.
Oregon House lawmakers passed the bill Tuesday with a vote of 59 to 1. The bill already passed the Oregon Senate with unanimous consent in early February 2012.
Governor Kitzhaber is now expected to sign the bill in to law.
If the bill is signed in to law, intentionally causing disorderly conduct within 200 feet of a funeral that a property is happening on would be a class A misdemeanor. That would carry a maximum fine of up to 6,250 dollars and up to one year in jail.