State House: State Rep. renewals call for restrictions on protests at funerals

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A local state representative, who has filed legislation to toughen state laws to protect what he refers to as the “Sanctity of Funerals,” is renewing calls for action on his legislation.

Marshfield State Rep Jim Cantwell says legislation he filed at the State House was heard on October 5th and is stuck in committee–but if passed and signed into law, would strengthen state statutes to limit the protests outside of funerals for service men and women.

Rep. Cantwell, spoke days after a planned protest by members of the Westboro Baptist Church outside of a fallen soldier’s funeral in Plymouth which incensed area residents.

“Our military servicemen and woman deserve great respect for all the sacrifices to protect our freedoms, but this deserved respect is even heightened when one of these heroes gives the ultimate sacrifice–that would be losing his or her life in service to our country,” said Cantwell.

The Marshfield Representative says the bill restricts the ability of groups like the WBC to do what he calls, ‘wrongly protest’ the funeral of fallen soldiers, and would limit the time they can do it. The bill would restrict protest 1 hour before, or 1 hour after the funeral, and prohibit protests from within 1000 ft of the protest. Cantwell says it would also restrict the use of bullhorns or other devices.

The Westboro Baptist Church announced plans last week to protest outside of the funeral for Specialist Steven Gutowski, which was held earlier this week in Plymouth. Gutowski died earlier last month while serving in Afghanistan.

About Steven Dodrill

Steven Dodrill is a member of the WATD news team as a full-time news reporter and weekend anchor while assuming the duties of Manager of Web and News Services. The 25 year-old Franklin Pierce University graduate adds a blend of new media to the traditional news for WATD listeners over the airwaves, and for the readers on the web. Dodrill has a vast amount of experience in on-air and online platforms. "Follow" him on Twitter At Franklin Pierce, Steven worked to introduce new forms of media like YouTube, and Twitter to the Franklin Pierce community.  Steven graduated Cum Laude and with honors in Mass Communication from Franklin Pierce University in May of 2009. Steven focused his education and experience in New Hampshire around sports broadcasting, digital media, broadcast journalism, news, media production, and political reporting. "Like" him on Facebook Dodrill also interned with the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League during the summer of 2007, and most recently in the spring of 2009 he completed an internship in the newsroom at WMUR-TV in Manchester, NH.