Aldermen approved an ordinance that bans picketing and protest activities that take place within 300 feet of a funeral.

The action was taken at the Feb. 19 board of aldermen meeting.

The ordinance, which was read for the second time at the meeting, prohibits picketing and protest activities at a funeral service at a residence, cemetery, funeral home, church, synagogue or other establishment one hour before or one hour after the service.

Although the new law includes any funeral, the ban was enacted as a sign of respect for those who have served in the military, according to Alderman Walter Arnette, one of the bill’s sponsors.

“We wanted this for sometime, but now we have a court ruling so we’re sure that it is legal,” Arnette said. “The cities of Chesterfield and Creve Coeur have similar ordinances.”

The ordinance does not infringe on free speech rights.

“Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish the person’s sentiments on all subjects,” the ordinance said, but no person shall picket or engage in other protests within 300 feet of funerals.

Anyone violating the ordinance will be guilty of a municipal violation and will be subject to penalty in accordance with Section 100.170. Each day the violation continues shall be a separate offense.