Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses § 7517. Commemorative service demonstration activities

(a) Legislative intent.--The General Assembly finds and declares that:

(1) Families have a substantial interest in organizing and attending commemorative services for deceased relatives.

(2) The interests of families in privately and peacefully mourning the loss of deceased relatives are violated when commemorative services are targeted for picketing and other public demonstrations.

(3) Picketing of commemorative services causes emotional disturbance and distress to grieving families who participate in commemorative services.

(4) Full opportunity exists under the terms and provisions of this section for the exercise of freedom of speech and other constitutional rights at times other than within one hour prior to, during and one hour following the commemorative services.

(b) Offense defined.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the third degree if the person engages in demonstration activities within 500 feet of any cemetery, mortuary, church or other location being utilized for the purposes of a commemorative service within one hour prior to, during and one hour following the commemorative service.

(c) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

Commemorative service.”  An event involving the gathering of individuals who assemble:

(1) At a cemetery or other location during the burial, funeral, ceremony or memorial service of a specific deceased person to mourn or honor the deceased person or to pay respect to the family of the deceased person.

(2) In a building during the viewing, visitation, burial, funeral, ceremony or memorial service of a specific deceased person to mourn or honor the deceased person or to pay respect to the family of the deceased person.

(3) To participate in a procession to a cemetery, building or other location in which a viewing, visitation, burial, funeral, ceremony or memorial service of a specific deceased person is to be conducted to mourn or honor the deceased person or to pay respect to the family of the deceased person.

Demonstration activities.”  Any of the following:

(1) Any picketing or similar conduct.

(2) Any oration, speech or use of sound amplification equipment or device or similar conduct that is not part of a commemorative service.

(3) The display of any placard, sign, banner, flag or similar device, unless such display is part of a commemorative service.

(4) The distribution of any handbill, pamphlet, leaflet or other written or printed matter, other than a program distributed as part of a commemorative service.


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