[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Royalton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Funeral Protests
[Adopted 10-17-2011 by L.L. No. 2-2011]
Pursuant to the applicable provisions of the laws of the State of New York, including but not limited to the Municipal Home Rule Law, the General Municipal Law and the Town Law, the Royalton Town Board is authorized to adopt local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations which preserve, protect and promote the general health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Town of Royalton. The adoption at such laws, ordinances, rules and regulations are subject to Federal Constitutional protections and/or limitations imposed by federal or state law.
The purpose of this article is to balance the interest of families and friends to grieve the death of relatives or loved ones peacefully with the level of respect, dignity and privacy that such a solemn event demands against the freedom of speech and other constitutional protections. The Royalton Town Board finds that honoring deceased friends or family members in a dignified and respectful manner is of paramount importance to families and friends of the deceased. That all families should be given an equal opportunity to conduct a funeral or other ceremony upon the death of their loved one without interruption or without being subjected to picketers, protestors or public demonstrations which have a disruptive effect upon the proceedings or which cause undue emotional pain or hardship to the surviving family and friends of the decedent. That such concerns have manifested themselves particularly in the case of honoring the death of military personnel who have served our great nation and given their lives to protect the freedoms which each citizens of the Town enjoys. The regulations are designed to take into consideration the length of time necessary to conduct a funeral event including those situation where a large number of persons may be in attendance and require additional time to complete a funeral service or event. Accordingly, the Royalton Town Board, by adoption of this article, seeks to protect the rights of families and friends to grieve the death of a relative or loved ones at funerals or other gathering within the Town of Royalton while protecting the constitutionally protected rights of others, all in order to promote the health, safety, or general welfare of the residents of the Town.
For purposes of this article, the following definitions shall apply:
- FUNERAL EVENT
- Religious or nonreligious ceremonies, wakes, funerals, grave side burial services, internments, and/or memorial services, wherever held or conducted within the Town of Royalton which are held in connection with the death of a person who is the subject of such event. A funeral event shall include but not be limited to a funeral service in a church, funeral home or other place of worship or assembly, funeral procession route from the service to the grave site and return, memorial service held in place normally reserved for public assembly such as a gymnasium or stadium, and the wake or gathering immediately following funeral or memorial services.
- The assembly of one or more persons acting alone or in concert with each other engaged in the act of picketing, public demonstration, exhibition, march, parade, rally or other similar actions or conduct for the purposes of promoting ideas, thoughts or beliefs, whether communicated verbally or nonverbally, with or without use of sound amplification equipment, signs or other devices, at a funeral event within the Town of Royalton.
No person shall engage in or cause others to engage in protests within 1,000 feet of any funeral event in the Town of Royalton within two hours prior to commencement of any funeral event, during any funeral event, or until two hours following the completion of any funeral event.
No person, firm or organization shall engage in or cause other to engage in protests within 1,000 feet of the principal residence of any immediate family member of the decedent including the residence of the decedent's parents, spouse or children in the Town of Royalton for a term 30 days from the date or death or, in the case of military personnel, from the date of death to a date which is 30 days after return of the decedent's remains to the family for burial.
Any person in violation of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000, and or imprisonment of up to one year. Each such violation, regardless of when occurring, shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.
Any peace officer, law enforcement officer or agency having jurisdiction in the Town of Royalton shall be authorized to enforce this article.
This article and the penalties associated herewith shall apply to all persons, regardless of whether acting independently or as a part of a group, firm or organization.