Act Limiting Military Funeral Protests Signed
The "Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012" will place restrictions on when protesters may appear at military funerals.
In a move sure to inflame First Amendment tensions, President Barack Obama has signed into law an act that will limit the activities of persons wishing to protest military funerals.
The "Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012" requires groups that are protesting military funerals to restrict their activities to two hours before and two hours after the funeral itself.
This act seems to fly in the face of the Supreme Court decision in Snyder v. Phelps, where the Court ruled 8-1 that the Westboro Baptist Church, a religious organization that pickets military funerals because of America's acceptance of homosexuality, is protected under the First Amendment to perform their demonstrations.
"I think [the act] is great," said Bob Weatherford, a member of Georgia's Patriot Guard Riders. "I was surprised Obama signed it, especially considering the Supreme Court decision last year."
The Patriot Guard, which was born out of the desire to protect the families of fallen service members from the protesters of military funerals, has transitioned to honoring and respecting military members and their families as the protection mission has tapered off.
Protection is still a large priority for the group, however; according to Weatherford, 50,000 people joined the Patriot Guard Riders in the week after the Snyder decision.
Is this act in violation of the First Amendment? Is it about time the government stepped in to curtail protests at military funerals? Tell us in the comments!