Statement from Senator O'Mara on reports of a possible protest at the funeral of U.S. Army Sgt. Devin Snyder

Thomas F. O'Mara

June 15, 2011

Albany, N.Y., June 15—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) released the following statement today on reports that members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church will conduct a protest in Cohocton on Saturday, June 18, at the funeral of U.S. Army Sgt. Devin A. Snyder:

“These protests are appalling, they’re wrong, and I regret that they’ve found their way here to one of our communities during such a difficult time.

“The family, friends and neighbors of Devin Snyder deserve to mourn her passing and honor her service with all of the decency, respect, sensitivity and solemnity that Devin earned and deserves. 

“But most importantly, I know that there’s no way a misguided protest will be able to deter or distract the Snyder family, her friends, her fellow soldiers and veterans, and this community from carrying out their final goodbyes to Devin.  The outpouring of support for Devin and her family will overwhelm anything or anyone that seeks to do any different. 

“In the meantime my colleagues and I in the Legislature, recognizing that some so-called protestors refuse to act within the normal bounds of common human decency and respect, are in the process of enacting legislation to reasonably and constitutionally restrict any actions at military funerals that fail to respect the needs of mourning family members and communities.”

O’Mara was referring to legislation (S.3901-A/A.7697), first introduced earlier this year and that he co-sponsors, to allow the state and local governments to restrict protests at military funerals.  The legislation was recently approved by the Assembly and is expected to be acted on by the Senate this week.