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Funeral protesters must keep distance, new California law says

People are seen protesting outside a funeral service in this undated file photo.

September 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
California now bans protests near funerals. Gov. Jerry Brown has approved a bill in response to demonstrations by a small Kansas church.

Members routinely picket military funerals, calling America's war deaths "God's punishment" for society's tolerance of homosexuality.

SB661 by Democratic Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance says protesters will now have to stay at least 300 feet away from funerals. Violators face fines up to $1,000 and six months in jail starting Jan. 1.

Brown vetoed a similar bill last year, citing a potential conflict with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing protests outside military funerals. The previous bill said demonstrators had to stay 1,000 feet way.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.