Tags: law | bans | waiving | american flag | arlington cemetery

Decade-Old Law Bans Waving American Flag at Arlington Cemetery

Image: Decade-Old Law Bans Waving American Flag at Arlington Cemetery
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By    |   Tuesday, 04 Jul 2017 10:57 AM

Patriotic Americans who plan to celebrate Independence Day at Arlington Cemetery had better brush up on federal law — waving an American flag could cost them a year in prison, The Washington Post reported.

In 2006, Republican lawmaker Mike Rogers of Michigan drafted the "Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act" which prohibited protests at funerals at Arlington and 135 other federally-run cemeteries.

The legislation easily passed, but part of its statute made it unlawful to display "any placard, banner, flag or similar device," The Post reported.

Rogers' motivation? Protecting military families burying their dead from protests, something that happened in 2006 when members of the Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church showed up at Arlington with signs like "Thank God for dead soldiers," the Post reported.

Ban those signs and symbols, you have to ban them all, lest the law violate the First Amendment.

"In the eyes of the law both an American flag and a Nazi flag express a clear message and thus are both worthy of First Amendment protections no matter how much we may disagree with one of them," ACLU lawyer Lee Rowland told the Post.

"It's an all-or-nothing proposition … even if the results in practice may feel unjust."

Exempt are the small flags placed in front of every headstone and burial marker on Memorial Day, The Post reported.

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Patriotic Americans who plan to celebrate Independence Day at Arlington Cemetery had better brush up on federal law - waving an American flag could cost them a year in prison, The Washington Post reported.
law, bans, waiving, american flag, arlington cemetery
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2017-57-04
Tuesday, 04 Jul 2017 10:57 AM
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