Chairman Ball Announces Historic Bill Banning Protests at Military Funerals
ALBANY, NY- Senator Greg Ball announced his support today for a Bill which would ban the ability of individuals and groups to protest at the funeral services of military personnel. The bill which is being Co-sponsored by Ball, along with Senator Zeldin, is an attempt to protect members of the military and their families from groups who in recent years have used military funerals as a platform to gain attention for themselves and their agendas. Senator Ball stated "I believe this bill will have unanimous support from our Majority Conference and will be an important and fitting tribute to all those serving in uniform, and especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. In coordination with my efforts to restore funding to our veterans homes this is one of many veterans bills that we will pass on this historic day and I ask New Yorkers to call upon the Assembly to do the same, immediately."
Senator Ball believes that the bill will pass constitutional muster and is fitting a response to the Supreme Court's 8-1 "Westboro" decision on March 2, 2011 which stated that protests at military funerals were protected by the first amendment. The case involved a lawsuit brought against the Westboro Baptist Church by the father of Maryland resident Matthew Snyder. Snyder was killed while serving in Iraq. Rich Othmer the Legislative Liaison for Putnam County Veterans voiced his concern for the families affected by these protests “No family should be subjected to this when they are grieving, protections need to be put in place.”
Daniel A. Morea, Deputy director of Veterans Services for the City of Yonkers supports the senators efforts to protect military families. “As a member of the American legion, I support Senator Ball’s efforts to protect members of the military and their families from being used as a platform for groups to push their agendas, and while right now there actions are deemed legally acceptable, what they are doing is morally despicable.”
The Bill will be a main point of focus at Senator Ball’s upcoming Veterans Hill Day on March 14th, where the Senator will be chairing a meeting of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee to introduce key bills on veterans issues. There is also a public hearing and a press conference scheduled where veterans will be giving testimony on important veterans issues, and the affect that proposed legislation like the ban on military funeral protests will have on the veteran community.
The information for Hill Day follows:
Meeting of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs :
• 10:00 am in Capitol room 124
Press Conference urging Assembly to pass legislation, so that veterans issues can be resolved:
• 10:30 am in Capitol room 124
Public Hearing to address the closings of Veterans Homes, and other vital veterans issues:
• 11:00 am in Capitol room 124