Niagara County Legislature Tables Protest Ban

July 26, 2011 Updated Jul 26, 2011 at 11:17 PM EDT

By WKBW Internet

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July 26, 2011 Updated Jul 26, 2011 at 11:17 PM EDT

LOCKPORT, NY (WKBW) - The Niagara County Legislature was set to vote on a law that would restrict the ability for groups like the Westboro Baptist Church to protest at military funerals.

The Supreme Court weighed in on the offensive protests in March, siding with the groups' Constitutionally protected right of free speech.

In an 8-1 decision, the Court decided that even though the speech is widely considered hurtful and offensive, the First Amendment provides protection in order to preserve a diverse dialogue.

Niagara County's proposed law sought to restrict protests at military funerals within 1000 feet of the cemetery or funeral home for up to one hour before and one hour after the service.

Similar laws have been passed in other counties across New York State, and just recently, both houses in Albany passed a state version of the law, very similar to the one crafted in Niagara County.

As a result, county lawmakers decided to table the vote to see if Governor Cuomo will sign the bill into law.

If not, the legislature says they will most likely move forward with a local bill.