President Barack Obama is set to sign a bill into law later this month that increases a wide range of veterans benefits. The “The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act” was passed by Congress on Tuesday before being sent to the White House. One of the provisions in the bill is the limiting of protests at military funerals addressed in Title 6 of the measure:
While ensuring the freedom to protest, but protecting the rights and the honor of the families of the fallen, those wishing to protest military funerals, or at national cemeteries, shall be subject to restrictions, and if violated, protesters shall be punished by criminal or civil action. In addition, servicemembers who die on active-duty shall now be eligible for Presidential Memorial Certificates to honor their service to the Nation.
While I agree that we have the right to protest based on the First Amendment of the Constitution, the fact that Congress has passed this bill gives a sense of great relief. While public outcry to the picketing (most infamously and commonly by the Westboro Baptist Church) and counter-protesting was generally amusing and creative, the disrespect given to those who died in service to our nation is despicable and this step needed to be taken. The bill can be found on the House Committee Of Veterans’ Affairs website, and synopsis can be found here on Stripes.com, a blog for veterans.
Protesters now must stay at least three hundred feet away from the family members of the deceased as well as not being allowed to demonstrate for two hours before and after a service.
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