FRANKFORT, Ky. – One woman draped an upside-down U.S. flag around her waist, while other demonstrators balled-up an Old Glory and kicked it around in a circle.
They were among seven members of a Kansas church who protested on the Kentucky Capitol’s front steps Wednesday, but a group of anti-protesters carrying flags and signs of their own outnumbered them nearly 10 to 1.
“It’s shameful,” shouted Americal Legion member Tim Flynn, his hands trembling.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church were at the Capitol protesting bills state lawmakers passed on Monday that would limit their protests at funerals and other memorial services.
Margie Phelps, a church member who led the protest, said the proposed bills brought them to the statehouse.
“You can tell the Kentucky Taliban they can’t pass enough laws to shut us up,” Phelps shouted.
Church members, largely the extended family of the Rev. Fred Phelps, have toured the country protesting at the funerals of U.S. soldiers. They see their deaths as a sign that God is punishing American for its tolerance of gays. They also protested at the funerals of dead coal miners in West Virginia last month.
Kentucky’s House and Senate have each passed bills that would limit people from protesting inside 300 feet of a funeral or memorial service. The Senate version, pending in the House, would also keep protesters from being within earshot of grieving friends and family members.