(7th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) – Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jack Conners (D-Camden/Burlington) released the following statement Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount anti-gay protests outside military funerals and pain grieving families:
“Free speech is a hallmark of our democracy, but you cannot yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded movie theater and you shouldn’t be allowed to hurl horrible insults at families mourning the loss of a heroic service member.
“Our dedication to free speech should not extend to verbal assaults on grieving families.
“Free speech is important, but so is common decency and privacy.
“Fortunately, New Jersey has on its books a law I sponsored that restricts protests to within 500 feet of funerals, funeral processions, funeral homes and places of worship.
“The U.S. Supreme Court erred today in it’s ruling, but at least New Jersey families can have some solace that this law is in place to protect their interests during the most emotional of times.”