The Last Honest Constitutionalist?

Becky Lourey's spine prevents her from politicking

State Sen. Becky Lourey today cast the lone dissenting vote on a bill to prohibit the intentional disruption of funerals by protesters. The proposal was sparked by last month's protest of a the Anoka funeral of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq by a Kansas-based religious sect intent on showing that God is killing American troops to punish tolerance for gays and lesbians. Reprehensible though the protect was, Lourey said in explaining her vote, it's a form of speech protected by the U.S. Constitution--something her own son died protecting in Iraq.

There's more in the Star Tribune's account:

Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, a candidate for governor and the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq last year, said she opposes the bill as an infringement of the free speech right her son died for. No protesters showed up for the burial of Army helicopter pilot Matthew Lourey last June at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, but the senator said even that would not have changed her mind.

"If it had happened, I would have had to endure that," she said. "This is very emotional because the speech we're addressing is very ugly, but we can't repeal the Bill of Rights because of it."

She suggested that a few changes in the state's disorderly conduct statute would suffice to protect funerals from improper disruption.

Lourey, alert newshounds may recall, was criticized by some of her political cohorts for her trip last year to Cindy Sheehan's protest encampment outside Bush's ranch in Texas. Could this, coupled with her vote today, suggest a tendency toward the independent exercise of critical thought? Might just be enough to get her drummed out of the statehouse.

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