LI lawmaker seeks to ban protests from military funerals

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled recently that a controversial church group has a right to protest at military funerals, but now a lawmaker from

MASTIC - The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled recently that a controversial church group has a right to protest at military funerals, but now a lawmaker from Long Island is fighting back.

State Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) has proposed a state law called "The Specialist Thomas Wilwerth Military Dignity Act."

The legislation would ban protests within 2,500 feet of military services, funerals and processions, unless the protesters post a bond to the local town to pay for increased security costs associated with the demonstration. In no case would protesters be permitted within 500 feet.

The bill is named after Spc. Thomas Wilwerth, of Mastic, who died in Iraq five years ago. Wilwerth's father, Terry Wilwerth, says military families deserve the peace and respect to grieve without the interference of protesters like the Westboro Baptist Church.

Zeldin says the proposed state law has adequate free speech protections and would survive a court challenge.

Wilwerth says his fallen son would be honored to have a military dignity act named in his memory.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

In Long Beach, officials recommend moving cars to 1 South Shore braces for possible beach erosion due to nor'easter
Meteorologists say heavy rain and strong winds could 2 Residents in Island Park brace for strong winds, rain
The incident happened at Manor Field Park 3 Suspects sought in attack on teen in Huntington Station park
Some Smithtown residents are trying to stop the 4 Smithtown residents trying to stop sale of school to developer
Trump said there will be 5 Trump meets with business leaders on first day of presidency

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

Each week, News 12's Doug Geed explores the Check out fun things to do on the East End!

Explore the Twin Forks with News 12's Doug Geed.

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Dog Day Fridays Series

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Long Island with pets up for adoption.

News 12 digs deep to find Long Island's Discover Long Island's Hidden Past

News 12's Danielle Campbell digs into Long Island's roots.

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long On The Spot

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long Islanders know about everything and anything.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE