[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
[Adopted 6-8-2010 by L.L. No. 30-2010 (Ch. 260A of the 1985 Code)]
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that the loss of a family member is a difficult and emotional trauma for the surviving family.
This Legislature also finds and determines that family members take this time to honor and mourn the deceased.
This Legislature further finds and determines that families have a significant interest in quietly mourning the loss of their loved one without the intrusion of others.
This Legislature also determines that incidents have occurred throughout the nation in which military funeral services have been disrupted by picketing and protesting.
This Legislature finds that picketing and protesting at funerals prevent grieving families from mourning the deceased in peace.
This Legislature determines that family members of the deceased frequently suffer emotional distress when picketing and protesting occur during a funeral.
This Legislature further finds that the United States Congress enacted legislation prohibiting demonstrations during, and immediately before and after, funerals conducted at cemeteries under the control of the National Cemetery Administration.
This Legislature also determines that many states have enacted independent legislation banning demonstrations and protests at any funeral conducted within their state.
This Legislature finds that the County of Suffolk should enact similar legislation to preserve dignity and respect at funerals held in Suffolk County.
This Legislature also finds that a full opportunity exists under the terms and provisions of this article for the exercise of free speech and other constitutional rights at times other than the period from one hour before the start of funeral services until one hour after the completion of funeral services.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to protect the privacy of grieving families and to maintain the peaceful nature of cemeteries and funeral locations by prohibiting demonstrations during, and immediately before and after, funeral services in the County of Suffolk.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Picketing or similar protest conduct, including oration, speech, the use of sound amplification equipment or devices, or similar conduct that is not part of a funeral, memorial service or ceremony.
- The ceremonies, processions and memorial services held in connection with the burial or cremation of a deceased person.
[Amended 8-2-2011 by L.L. No. 36-2011]
No person in the County of Suffolk shall engage in a demonstration within 750 feet of any church, mortuary or other location at which a funeral is being held within one hour prior to the commencement of any funeral, during any funeral, or until one hour following the completion of any funeral.
No person in the County of Suffolk shall engage in a demonstration within 750 feet of any cemetery at which a funeral is being held within one hour prior to the commencement of any funeral, during any funeral, or until one hour following the completion of any funeral, nor shall any person impede the access to or egress from such cemetery.
Any person who knowingly violates the provisions of this article shall be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year's imprisonment.
This article shall apply to all actions occurring on or after the effective date of this article.