Lawsuit seeks to invalidate Iowa’s flag abuse laws


April 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union is seeking an order stopping the enforcement of Iowa laws that make it a crime to abuse the American flag. ACLU filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., whose members are known for protesting outside soldiers’ funerals with anti-gay messages. The lawsuit says police in Red Oak and Council Bluffs threatened to enforce Iowa’s flag abuse statutes against during protests between 2010 and 2012.

The lawsuit argues the laws are unconstitutional, and were invalidated by a federal judge’s ruling in 2007. Lawmakers amended one of the laws after that ruling, but ACLU attorney Randall Wilson says they remain an unconstitutional restriction on free speech. Church members drag, stand and spit on flags during protests.