Lawmakers criticize military funeral protesters

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who won a Supreme Court ruling this week supporting their right to protest military funerals, are misusing their right to free speech, say Senate Armed Services Committee members Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Sen. Mark Begich, Alaska.

Julie Hasquet, a spokeswoman for Begich, told National Journal that while the senator "supports the First Amendment" he also believes "the protestors from Westboro Baptist Church are abusing their right to free speech and intentionally causing unnecessary distress for military families who have suffered incredible loss."

Manchin, who just returned from a trip to Afghanistan, agrees that the WBC protests are out of line, calling them "deplorable and despicable."

"He wishes that these people could see the bravery and patriotism of our service members in war zones-he's sure they would change their minds about these protests," said spokeswoman Emily Bittner.

Five years after Albert Snyder sued the WBC for their protests of homosexuality at his son's military funeral, the high court ruled in an 8-1 decision on Wednesday that the group has a First Amendment right to picket military funerals, no matter how "hurtful" the message. The group has made headlines over the years with signs like "Thank God for 9/11" and "God Hates Fags."

The Supreme Court ruling has been met with controversy, and Snyder has even taken to television shows to say WBC protests could easily lead to violence. "Something is going to happen," Albert Snyder told CNN Thursday. "Somebody is going to get hurt."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.