Carper Issues Statement on Flag Burning Amendment

WASHINGTON (June 27, 2006) — Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., today issued the following statement against a proposed Constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration. The amendment failed to get a two-thirds majority in the Senate as required for approval. The Senate also failed to pass legislation – cosponsored by Sen. Carper — that would criminalize flag burning under specific circumstances and prohibit organized protests at funerals of those who served in the Armed Services. That measure failed on a 36-64 vote. “As a 23-year veteran of the United States military and an American Legionnaire myself, no one finds flag burning more reprehensible than I do. I still get a lump in my throat when I sing our national anthem or say the pledge of allegiance and truly consider what our flag stands for and the sacrifices made in its honor. Our flag is the symbol of America, and I love it now more than ever. But behind that symbol is the Constitution. Throughout our history, the Constitution has sought to guarantee each of us the right to convey our thoughts and political views, however outrageous and offensive they may be. I think there is a way to honor our Constitution and the rights it bestows while also punishing those who choose to desecrate the flag. Instead of seeking to amend the Constitution, I’ve supported legislation that would criminalize flag desecration when there’s an intention to incite or produce imminent violence. In my view, this measure is a balanced approach that allows us to maintain our reverence for the flag and the Constitution.”