Omaha A federal judge has permanently blocked enforcement of Nebraska’s ban on flag mutilation in a case brought by a member of Kansas’ Westboro Baptist Church.
In Thursday’s ruling, U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf says the law can’t be applied so long as church members “otherwise act peacefully while desecrating the American or Nebraska flag.” The ruling finalizes a July decision and closes the case.
Megan Phelps-Roper filed the lawsuit in July, saying the state law violates her right to free speech.
Westboro members protest at soldiers’ funerals because they believe U.S. troop deaths are punishment for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality. Members often trample on, wear and display the American flag upside-down as part of their protests.