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Judge Declines to Block Mo. Disturbing Worship Law

Posted: Oct 2, 2012 11:20 AM by Associated Press

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A federal judge has refused to issue a preliminary injunction against a Missouri law making it a crime to disturb worship services.

The law makes it a misdemeanor to intentionally disturb or interrupt a "house of worship" with profane language, rude or indecent behavior or noise. It carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of two individuals and two groups that picket outside churches. They contend the law is vague and infringes upon free speech rights.

Senior U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber last week denied the request for preliminary injunction. Critics of the law said Tuesday they will move forward with the case. A full hearing is not yet scheduled.

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