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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!

Bob August 09, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Kudos to Obama for signing this bill. I don't care if these people get to protest...because they simply shouldn't be doing that at others' funerals, military or not. It's time people realize there are certain things that are called "inappropriate", and you should never be able to have those unjustified "freedom".
Alex Carroll August 09, 2012 at 10:30 PM
It doesn't matter whether these people have common sense...people should have the right to protest. The right thing would be to set boundaries and specify where they can protest, like the campaign rules during voting, so that they can't get too close to the funerals.
jeremy_d August 10, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Obama's doing something right you know. I think a lot of conservatives would support this bill.
Norman August 10, 2012 at 12:07 PM
It's the right effort and I'm glad for it. But I kind of doubt that it stands up to judicial scrutiny under the first amendment. Of course, I didn't think Obamacare would stand either.
William J. S. August 12, 2012 at 08:40 PM
This is the type of action that should have taken effect long ago without the goverment having to step in. The families and the fallen service men and women get the respect that they deserve and the protesters get to practice their First Amendment rights, with what I believe to be proper restrictions and limitations. his was a good move by President Obama. As a veteren I want My family to be shown the respect that They, along with myself have earned. There would be no Freedom of Speach without a military being willing to fight for it and protect that right. Only Jesus and soldiers have willingly offered to give up their life for the rights and freedoms that others enjoy. WJS- 5th Inf. Division- Viet Nam 1969-1970.

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