The Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act (H.R. 5037) made it through the House this week and is now on its way to the Senate.
The bill prohibits people from carrying out demonstrations at cemeteries under jurisdiction of the National Cemetery Administration or at Arlington National Cemetery without approval from the cemetery superintendent or director. It also would keep demonstrators within 500 ft. quiet starting before, during and after the funeral or service.
On Tuesday, when the bill was adopted, its sponsor Rep. Mike Rogers (R.-Mich.), had this to say:
"American military men and women who give their lives in defense of our nation deserve a peaceful and honorable funeral. Their families also deserve the freedom to honor their loved ones and celebrate their lives without the harassment of protestors who are targeting military funerals.”
Co-sponsor Rep. Joe Wilson (R.-S.C.) said:
"I am absolutely sickened to think that anyone would shout obscene words and hateful language during funerals for America’s fallen soldiers. Freedom of speech is one of the most treasured rights granted by our Constitution, but people should not use this right to disrupt the funerals of men and women who have sacrificed their lives to protect our country.
"As the father of three sons serving in the military, I am disappointed that Congress would even have to consider legislation to specifically prohibit the disruption of military funerals at national cemeteries. However, by supporting the Respect for Fallen American Heroes’ Act, I am comforted to know that America’s fallen heroes will now be guaranteed peaceful and dignified funerals."