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Proposed Town Ordinance Would Ban Funeral Demonstrations

The Southington Town Council's Ordinance Committee discussed a potential ordinance Tuesday night that could prevent demonstrations outside any funeral service in town.

Members of the Southington Town Council ordinance committee on Thursday discussed a proposed ordinance that could effectively ban demonstrations at funerals in town.

The ordinance discussed, which ultimately would require a recommendation to the council and approval from the entire board, is designed to keep the peace and prevent controversial and damaging protests that could incite any sort of violence in town.

It was one of several new ordinances discussed at the meeting, which also included consideration of a fine structure for businesses that violate temporary sign regulations, reviewing access sidewalk maintenance to schools and discussion of an ordinance to prevent junk mail from being thrown onto lawns, according to the Record-Journal.

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The proposed ordinance comes less than two weeks removed from a controversial attempt by members of Westboro Baptist Church to demonstrate at the funerals of the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown.

During the day before the scheduled protest, rumors spread like wildfire on social media networks including Facebook and Twitter that the organization was staying at the Motel 6 in Southington. The rumors were false, police said, but residents caused an uproar when threats and fake pizza orders were called in to the hotel.

Officers were hired on private detail for the evening but there were no arrests or incidents while police were present.

The Westboro Baptist Church members never appeared at the funerals, which were guarded by citizens. There are some concerns that had they showed up, it could have resulted in a violent confrontation, something the town would be aiming to prevent.

Tell us: What are your thoughts on this ordinance? Is it something necessary to prevent violence or would it simply impede on first amendment rights? Give us your take.

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WhiskeyTangoFoxrot January 04, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Finally a good idea from the town council. We don't need the WBC Scum in our town any way.

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