Chesterton Tribune


Porter Town Council okays funeral ordinance

Back to Front Page





The Porter Town Council has officially enacted an ordinance intended to maintain the dignity of funerals and the privacy of grievers.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the council voted 4-0 to approve the ordinance on final reading.

The text of the ordinance:

“Sec. 42-29 Funeral protests.

“(a) Every person may freely speak, write, and publish the person’s sentiments on all subjects, but no person shall picket or engage in other protest activities, nor shall any association or corporation cause picketing or other protest activities to occur within 300 feet of any residence, cemetery, funeral home, synagogue, or other establishment during or within one hour before or one hour after the conducting of any actual funeral or burial service at that place.

“(b) As used in this section, ‘other protest activities’ means any action that is disruptive or undertaken to disrupt or disturb a funeral or burial service.

“(c) “As used in this section, ‘funeral’ and ‘burial service’ mean the ceremonies and memorial services held in conjunction with the burial or cremation of the dead, but this section does not apply to processions while they are in transit beyond the 300 foot zone.”

Members voted for the ordinance on final reading without discussion on Tuesday but at their last meeting Member Elka Nelson noted that the language is similar to one enacted in Manchester, Mo., and subsequently upheld by the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ordinance is intended to protect mourners from the sort of demonstration commonly staged by the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., at military funerals, for reasons best understood by that church’s members.




Posted 3/27/2013