"That all said, we agree that practices such as protesting at the funerals of men and women who died in service to this country and preventing their families from mourning peacefully are reprehensible-- a point that President Obama has made for years. That's why he signed a law to ensure that protesters keep an appropriate distance at military funerals. As the President has said, “The graves of our veterans are hallowed ground, and when men and women die in the service of their country and are laid to rest, it should be done with the utmost honor and respect.”
White House Official Response
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says it can't fulfill a request to deem a group that protests at soldiers' funerals a hate group. But it says President Barack Obama believes such actions are reprehensible.
The Obama administration is responding to petitions through the White House website to label the Westboro Baptist Church a hate group and revoke its tax-exempt status. Almost 700,000 people signed five related petitions.
The group claims when American troops die, it's God's punishment for America tolerating homosexuality and abortion.
The White House says the federal government doesn't maintain a list of hate groups. But it's releasing a map showing where the petition-signers come from. The map shows high density in Kansas, where the Westboro group is based, and Connecticut, where church members threatened to picket Newtown victims' funerals.