Federal Appeals Court Sides with Westboro Baptist Church

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ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A federal appeals court says Missouri should be
barred from enforcing a state law limiting protests near funerals until it can be determined whether the law is constitutional.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis reached the same decision last December. But the state of Missouri appealed.

Missouri legislators passed the law in 2006 in response to pickets of soldiers' funerals by members of Westboro Baptist Church. The Topeka, Kan., church claims God allows soldiers to be killed as punishment on the nation for tolerating homosexuality.

The appeals court said church member Shirley Phelps-Roper was entitled to a preliminary injunction while the law's constitutionality is considered.