O'Mara comments on protest planned for Cohocton soldier's funeral

Staff reports

State Sen. Tom O’Mara released the following statement today on reports that members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church will conduct a protest in Cohocton on Saturday, June 18, at the funeral of U.S. Army Sgt. Devin A. Snyder:

“These protests are appalling, they’re wrong, and I regret that they’ve

   found their way here to one of our communities during such a difficult

   time.

“The family, friends and neighbors of Devin Snyder deserve to mourn her

   passing and honor her service with all of the decency, respect,

   sensitivity and solemnity that Devin earned and deserves.

“But most importantly, I know that there’s no way a misguided protest

   will be able to deter or distract the Snyder family, her friends, her

   fellow soldiers and veterans, and this community from carrying out

   their final goodbyes to Devin.  The outpouring of support for Devin and

   her family will overwhelm anything or anyone that seeks to do any

   different.

“In the meantime my colleagues and I in the Legislature, recognizing

   that some so-called protestors refuse to act within the normal bounds

   of common human decency and respect, are in the process of enacting

   legislation to reasonably and constitutionally restrict any actions at

   military funerals that fail to respect the needs of mourning family

   members and communities.”

O’Mara was referring to legislation (S.3901-A/A.7697), first introduced

earlier this year and that he co-sponsors, to allow the state and local

governments to restrict protests at military funerals.  The legislation was

recently approved by the Assembly and is expected to be acted on by the

Senate this week.