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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Congressman Cole Protects US Symbol Against Desecration

June 3, 2003
Press Release

Washington DC- Congressman Cole voted today to amend the Constitution of the United States to enable Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the U.S. flag. Congressman Cole is a co-sponsor of The Flag Protection Amendment (H.J Res. 4), which passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 300-125.

     "We have a great amount of pride and respect for our nation that should not be defaced or trivialized by desecration of the symbol of our free nation. Disrespect for our flag indicates disrespect for the ideals our country was founded upon and the brave men and women who have fought for peace and security," Congressman Cole said. 

     In 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that burning the U.S. flag, as part of a political demonstration, was expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment. Since then neither states nor the federal government have been able to prohibit the desecration of the flag.

     "All 50 state legislatures have passed resolutions calling for this amendment to the Constitution. Free speech is important to all individuals and will continue to be upheld in the Constitution, but not at the cost of patriotism and the principles that make this nation so great," Congressman Cole said

     During the last four Congresses, the House has passed legislation giving Congress the power to prohibit U.S. flag desecration, but the Senate has failed to pass the legislation. The last time the Constitution was amended was in 1992, adding the 27th Amendment, which states that no law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.