“Hate Speech” as Freedom of Expression?
Do protesters have a First Amendment Right to “to spew hate at soldiers’ funerals under the protection of the Constitution”?
This is an issue the Supreme Court will take up in the coming week.
Members of a fundamentalist religious group in Kansas traveled to Maryland and picketed a dead soldier’s funeral carrying “signs bearing anti-gay and anti-Catholic invective,” insisting that it is their Constitutional right to do so. They believe that US Soldiers’ deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are “God’s punishment for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality.”
The First Amendment reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Quoting from The People’s Guide to the United States Constitution:
Freedom of speech or of the press are not absolute rights, but have reasonable restrictions. For example, it is not permissible to spread outright falsehoods in the media about someone or to shout “fire” in a crowded theatre as a practical joke and cause a panic.
Do you think protesters – with any point of view – have a First Amendment right to appear at funerals of American soldiers and interpose their views ?