JEFFERSON CITY • Two groups are trying to block a new state law that prohibits the disruption of worship services, claiming that the measure is too vague and will infringe on their rights to free speech.
The law, which supporters say will protect houses of worship from disruptive protests, is scheduled to take effect Tuesday, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri filed a suit in federal court Wednesday on behalf of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and Voice of the Faithful-Kansas City. The groups often picket near churches over child sex abuse allegations.
The measure’s sponsor says he expects the challenge to fail.
Dubbed the “House of Worship Protection Act,” the law makes disturbing activity, either inside or “so near it as to disturb the order and solemnity of the worship,” a misdemeanor. Third and subsequent charges would be elevated to felony status.
The lawsuit argues that SNAP and Voices of the Fait...