Arizona prevents anti-gay church picketing killed 9-year-old’s funeral

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The US state of Arizona has quickly pushed through legislation to ban the picketing of funerals.

The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church had planned to picket the funeral of a nine-year-old girl to gain publicity but now says it will not disrupt the event in exchange for air time on radio stations.

Christina Taylor Green was shot dead on Saturday when a gunman opened fire on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ meeting in a shopping centre.

Her funeral is to be held this Saturday.

However, the controversial church said it would still picket the Friday funeral of District Judge John Rolls, who was also killed in the massacre.

The emergency law passed by Arizona legislators requires picketers to stand at least 300 metres away from funeral sites but a Westboro Baptist Church spokeswoman said they would be around 1,000 meters away.

Westboro Baptist Church frequently protests the funerals of soldiers killed abroad, claiming that their deaths are a message from God to stop tolerance of homosexuality.