.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3), in a show of respect on Flag Day for our veterans and the men and women currently serving in the armed forces, announced today that he has joined in introducing a Constitutional Amendment that would allow Congress to pass laws prohibiting the desecration of the American flag. The congressman introduced the bipartisan measure, H.J. Res. 13, with U.S. Reps. Spencer Bachus (AL-6) and Nick Rahall (WV-3), calling flag desecration an offensive act that should be within the power of the people's elected representatives to prevent. U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT) introduced a companion bill in the Senate yesterday.
"The American flag shines like a beacon as the world's greatest symbol of freedom and democracy. It represents the bedrock of our country, stirs a heartfelt sense of patriotism and continues to inspire Americans and people seeking freedom around the globe. Protecting the flag that so many brave men and women have fought and died under is a responsibility for all Americans," Rep. Lipinski said. "I cherish the First Amendment's fundamental right of freedom of speech, but I firmly believe that purposeful flag desecration is an offensive act that cannot and should not be tolerated. As a congressman representing a district with more than 30,000 veterans, I have worked alongside too many veterans and attended far too many memorial ceremonies for soldiers killed in action to ever think otherwise."
In Washington and throughout his district, Rep. Lipinski is known for his work on behalf of veterans and believes providing proper care and recognition to the men and women who are serving and have served in our military are among our country's highest duties. His amendment, which he has helped to introduce in previous Congresses, would not prescribe a specific law prohibiting flag desecration, but merely grant lawmakers the power to prohibit it if they choose.
Once Rep. Lipinski's joint resolution passes the House and the Senate, it will need to be passed by three-fourths of the state legislatures to be ratified as a Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"This amendment is often misunderstood," said James E. Koutz, national commander of The American Legion. "It does not protect the U.S. Flag. It merely returns to Congress the power to pass legislation that would protect the flag, a power that was taken away from them by the Supreme Court in 1989. It is time to correct this mistake -- now."