Ruppersberger to Announce Legislation to Prevent Protests During Military Funerals
“Safe Haven for Heroes Act” Will Prevent Groups from Disrupting Military Funerals
(Timonium, MD) - Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger tomorrow will announce new legislation to prevent protests during military funerals. The bill, called the “Safe Haven for Heroes Act,” responds to the recent Supreme Court decision that offensive anti-gay protests at the funeral of Maryland resident Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder are protected under the First Amendment.
The Snyder family fell victim to Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, which believes that God hates the United States for its tolerance of gay people and frequently uses signs bearing statements such as “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” Westboro has picketed nearly 600 military funerals over the past 20 years. Matthew Snyder, 20, died in a vehicle accident while serving in Iraq.
“We need to thank God for the service and sacrifice of our American military fighting for our freedom,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “The right to free speech is a valuable liberty that we all cherish as Americans. While I respect the recent Supreme Court decision, I wanted to find a way to stop groups like Westboro from using military funerals as occasions to promote their own political agenda and inflict incalculable harm on the grieving families of our troops.”
The bill seeks to enable groups like Westboro to exercise their right to free speech without disrupting the funerals themselves or forcing funeral participants to encounter the protesters.
Who: Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger
What: Ruppersberger to Announce Legislation to Prevent Protests at Military Funerals
When: Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Where: Linthicum Veterans Memorial
Camp Meade & Maple Road