SB 888 (Lieu)
As Amended – May 26, 2011
FUNERAL PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT
SUMMARY THIS BILL
SB 888 creates constitutionally-sanctioned place and SB 888 follows the Court’s guidance in Phelps v.
manner limits on protests of funerals. SB 888 will Snyder and makes it unlawful for anyone to protest a
protect grieving families from disruptive protests, funeral (except on private property) unless:
while carefully balancing the constitutionally-
protected right of free expression. - They are 1,000 feet away or more; and
- They are not utilizing any oration, speech, or
BACKGROUND amplified sound.
Starting in 1998, the Westboro Baptist Church Individuals who fail to comply with these
started picketing funerals. Initially, this picketing restrictions are guilty of a misdemeanor and
targeted funerals of individuals that the Church punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment
believed to be homosexual, but the Church quickly in a county jail for up to six months, or both.
branched out to picket other individual’s funerals.
Starting in 2005, the Church started protesting at the SB 888 also creates a reasonable timeframe of only
funerals of fallen military soldiers of the Iraq War. levying these restrictions within a three hour
timeframe surrounding the funeral.
In 2006, the Westboro Baptist Church picketed the
funeral of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Mathew SUPPORT
Snyder, who died in Iraq. The picketing was made
up of hateful slogans, including anti-Catholic and American Legion
homophobic sentiments. Lance Corporal Snyder’s AMVets
father, Albert Snyder, responded to the Church by Vietnam Vets of America
lodging a civil suit against the Westboro Baptist Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Church and its founding family to seek damages. Association for Los Angeles Deputy
In March of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Riverside Sheriffs’ Association
with the Westboro Baptist Church in Phelps v. L.A. County Probation Officers Union
Snyder and denied damages, noting that the protests South Bay LGBT Center
were, among other things:
Los Angeles County Stonewall Young
- On public land;
- More than 1,000 feet away from the funeral;
- The protest was not unruly or loud.
With these facts distinguished, the Court concluded American Civil Liberties Union
that the protesters “had the right to be where they California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
Office of Senator Ted W. Lieu
SB 863 – Fact Sheet