MILITARY FAMILIES HAVE A RIGHT TO PEACEFUL FUNERALS
Military Members Introduce Resolution in Response to Westboro Baptist Church and
their Protest of Fallen Soldiers Coming Home from Iraq, Afghanistan
Westboro Baptist Church: Thank God for Dead Soldiers
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman John Boccieri (D-OH) along with his fellow military veteran and Republican colleague U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) today joined together to introduce a resolution reminding the United States Supreme Court that the right to free speech ends where the right to privacy begins. Their resolution upholds current state laws allowing a family who is mourning the loss of their soldier killed in Iraq and Afghanistan to grieve privately.
“The right to free speech ends where the privacy of a family mourning the loss of a service member begins,” said Congressman Boccieri, a C-130 pilot flying missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. “While our law doesn’t restrict hate groups from spewing their venom, it forces them to do it at a respectful distance from the grieving family. This is personal for me after flying wounded and fallen soldiers out of Baghdad. Not only do we fight for the right to free speech, we fight for the right to privacy as well.”
“Service members who make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation – as well as their families – deserve our unending respect and appreciation,” said Congressman Hunter, a combat veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Those who attempt to discredit their sacrifice by hurling insults and engaging in other offensive behavior bring great shame to themselves. The right to free speech is one of our nation’s most fundamental and protected rights, but it’s unfortunate when certain individuals or groups think it’s appropriate, for the purpose of creating controversy, to publicly malign our fallen heroes and disrupt such an important moment for their families. It’s my hope is that the Supreme Court will move to uphold existing laws that allow these families to mourn the loss of their loved ones without disturbance.”
A copy of the Congressmen’s resolution is attached.
111TH CONGRESS 2D SESSION H. CON. RES. l Expressing the sense of Congress that the Supreme Court should uphold laws that allow the families and friends of fallen members of the Armed Forces to mourn their loved ones in peace and privacy. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Mr. BOCCIERI submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on lllllllllllllll CONCURRENT RESOLUTION Expressing the sense of Congress that the Supreme Court should uphold laws that allow the families and friends of fallen members of the Armed Forces to mourn their loved ones in peace and privacy. Whereas members of the Armed Forces who are killed in combat, die from wounds incurred in combat, or otherwise die in the line of duty lay down the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the United States; Whereas the families and friends of these brave men and women have the right to mourn their loved ones in peace and privacy; VerDate Nov 24 2008 12:09 Apr 05, 2010 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6300 C:\TEMP\BOCCIE_034.XML HOLCPC April 5, 2010 (12:09 p.m.) F:\M11\BOCCIE\BOCCIE_034.XML f:\Vhlc\040510\040510.008.xml (464301|7) 2 Whereas families at military funerals have been subject to offensive and disruptive shouting and picketing that deprives them of that right; Whereas the protestors of Westboro Baptist Church engage in offensive and disruptive demonstrations at military funerals, holding signs that read, ‘‘Thank God for Dead Soldiers’’ and ‘‘Soldiers Die God Laughs’’; Whereas 41 States have enacted laws that protect the peace and privacy of grieving military families by shielding them from protestors at the funerals and memorial services of their loved ones; Whereas the 109th Congress passed, with overwhelming bipartisan support, the Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act (Public Law 109–228), which requires protestors to remain a respectful distance from a funeral or memorial service at a cemetery under the control of the Federal Government; Whereas the Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for the safety of the people of the United States; Whereas the Supreme Court announced on March 8, 2010, that they will review the case Snyder v. Phelps, No. 09- 751, in which the Court will decide whether laws that limit the speech of protestors in order to protect the peace and privacy of grieving military families may be upheld under the First Amendment to the Constitution; Whereas the Supreme Court, in National Archives and Records Administration v. Favish, 541 U.S. 157 (2004), declared that ‘‘family members have a personal stake in honoring and mourning their dead and objecting to un- VerDate Nov 24 2008 12:09 Apr 05, 2010 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6300 C:\TEMP\BOCCIE_034.XML HOLCPC April 5, 2010 (12:09 p.m.) F:\M11\BOCCIE\BOCCIE_034.XML f:\Vhlc\040510\040510.008.xml (464301|7) 3 warranted public exploitation that by intruding upon their own grief, tends to degrade the rites and respect they seek to accord to the deceased person who was once their own’’; Whereas the Supreme Court, in Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703 (2000), ruled that limitations on speech may restrict the time, place, and manner of speech to protect the public from confrontational and harassing conduct; Whereas a military funeral or memorial service is never the appropriate time or place for protest, and protest at a military funeral or memorial service is never an appropriate manner of exercising free speech: Now, therefore, be it 1 Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate 2 concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that the Su3 preme Court should uphold laws that allow the families 4 and friends of fallen members of the Armed Forces to 5 mourn their loved ones in peace and privacy. VerDate Nov 24 2008 12:09 Apr 05, 2010 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 C:\TEMP\BOCCIE_034.XML HOLCPC April 5,
Bird, the guide is really helpful, but here's a tid bit of info I found out about 3 months ago and applied for and picked up an additional $91.00 a month from the VA. It's for something none of us wants to admit to having, it's a side effect of some other related injury or disease we got while serving our country it's Erectile Dysfunction (ED). In my case it's a side effect of type II diabetes from agent orange exposure in Vietnam. It's not a rated disability but they pay $91.00 if your being treated for it from a service connected disability. Check it out it's worth $1092.00 extra a year ;D, the worst thing they can say is NO and we all know they're good at that. It's nothing to be embarrassed about sh!t happens to us!!
Bird, Very touching and true video. I was 18 when I stepped off that plane like so many others in March of 1971 in Vietnam and felt like I was 30 when I left 366 day later. Like so many I had to learn to live with the things we had to do in war. I'm glad that the troops returning today from Iraq and Afganistan don't have to go thru what we had to from the American people on our return. I can still hear some of the names I was called while walking thru the airport in san francisco just like it was yesterday.
I know right. A tough steak in Oakland and even tougher when you walked through the gates to face the Protesters. I will never ever forget. Sad that will always be my memory of coming home. Was like that hitch hiking home to MD as well. Got some great pictures tho. Interesting stuff in the desert. tho..... ;D