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Westboro Baptist Church Won't Protest Arizona Shooting Child Victim's Funeral in Exchange for Airtime

Christina Green AP

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CBS/AP) In exchange for getting some radio time to air their controversial views, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., has abandoned plans to picket 9-year-old Tucson shooting victim Christina Taylor Green's funeral.

PICTURES: Arizona Shooting Victims

Shirley Phelps-Roper of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka first told the Topeka Capital-Journal that church members will skip Green's Thursday funeral in Tucson.

Phelps-Roper says the church has been given airtime with 102.1 The Edge in Toronto, Canada and an interview with KXXT-AM in Phoenix, Ariz. on Saturday morning.

The church's past protests, which have included picketing military funerals, have been highlighted by ardent anti-gay rhetoric - blaming the country's troubles on its acceptance of homosexuality.

Phelps-Roper says the group still will picket the Friday funeral of U.S. District Judge John Roll and at the intersection where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others were shot.

In response to Westboro's threat to picket Green's funeral, the Arizona Legislature unanimously passed emergency legislation Tuesday banning protests at or near funeral sites.

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently mulling a case brought by a dead Marine's father who wants to ban Westboro's practice of picketing high-profile funerals - especially those of soldiers - with hateful messages. A decision is expected later this year.


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