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Thu July 30, 2009
KC May Repeal Funeral Picketing Ordinance
Kansas City, MO – A threat of a lawsuit made by the Fred Phelps family and their Westboro Baptist Church was met with defiance by a city council committee yesterday, but its members are calling it a "lose-lose situation."
The Phelps family sends an ultimatum: repeal the city's ordinance prohibiting picketing at funerals or face a first amendment lawsuit - a suit city legal advisors say the city would likely lose. A loss would invalidate the ordinance and force the city to pay the Phelps's court costs - upwards of $30,000.
Councilman Ed Ford proposes repealing the ordinance, but no member of the committee was willing to endorse the repeal plan... at least for now.
Councilman John Sharp explained: "I might very well support it if we can't find a better alternative. I don't want to do anything to put more money in these guys' coffers."
Committee members Sharp, Melba Curls, Cindy Circo and Cathy Jolly delayed the repeal for two weeks, sending the matter back to the legal department, and asking them to search for a "creative solution."