“This afternoon the Illinois Senate will consider the Let Them Rest in Peace Act –to put the Land of Lincoln one step closer to protecting the rights of mourners at a funeral to speak, assemble and practice their religious faith without harassment by an outside hate group.
“The Let Them Rest in Peace Act creates a zone of privacy of 200 feet around a funeral or memorial service so families mourning the loss of a loved one will not be subjected to vile epithets or signs. Disruptive and inflammatory protests would be prohibited 30 minutes before a funeral, during a funeral, and 30 minutes after the funeral within the designated zone of privacy.
“The Let Them Rest in Peace Act strikes an important balance between the First Amendment religious rights of families to bury their dead with reverence and dignity, and the expression rights of those seeking to harass mourners at a funeral service.
“I salute the Gold Star families and people of Illinois for their grassroots effort urging their legislators to enact this important law. In the past week hundreds of Illinois citizens have sent emails urging passage of the Let Them Rest In Peace Act. Their voices have been heard and now grieving families may pay their last respects to their loved ones with reverence and dignity.
“I also salute the sponsors of this bill, Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) and Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi (D-Joliet), as well as Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago), Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) and Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) for their support.”
The Let Them Rest in Peace Act is a response to a series of hate group disruptions at funeral services for Illinois military personnel in the past year, and applies to all funerals and memorial services in Illinois.