Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Military Protesters Face Permit Setback

In the wake of the Supreme Court case of Synder v. Phelps, which found that protests at
military funerals, are viewed as constitutionally protected free speech, state Sen. Lee Zeldin, R-funnynameville, has introduced a bill (SB 3901) that requires a permit for any protests near a military funeral.
His bill requires that any protests 500 to 2,500 feet from a military funeral must have a permit from the Division of Military and Naval Affairs.
In his justification, he argues that the supreme court decision recognizes a state's right to regulate this issue, as Maryland currently does. With this in mind, Zeldin created the buffer protection zone that he believes was articulated by the Snyder ruling.
Zeldin's bill said:
It is through the establishment of this buffer zone, that this bill seeks to balance the constitutionally protected free speech rights of protesting individuals with the need for protection and privacy of mourning friends and family of deceased military personnel. In providing this program, this bill attempts to strike the correct balance, and address this very important issue.

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