(WBRZ News 2) Those who desecrate the American or state flag in Iberville Parish may now face a fine or even jail time according to a newly-passed ordinance.
On Tuesday, the Iberville Parish Council voted in favor of an ordinance to prohibit national and local flag defacing. The ordinance will protect the American flag, the Louisiana state flag and the Iberville Parish flag.
It was reported in a previous WBRZ story that, any "word, mark, design or advertisement of any nature" on the flags would be outlawed. The penalties for flag desecration would be either a six-month jail sentence, $1,000 fine or both.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana sent the council a letter asking them to oppose the ordinance.
After the vote, the ACLU told WBRZ:
"Iberville Parish has just enacted a law that is unconstitutional, unenforceable, and will violate the rights of people living and travelling through Iberville Parish. Flag desecration laws have been ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. The members of the Iberville Parish Council are sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States and the State of Louisiana. In passing a law that violates the laws of this country, the Iberville Parish Council members have violated their own sworn oaths and jeopardized the rights of their constituents. They should reconsider this very unwise decision."
"We promised the veterans that we would pass something in the wake of some students at the universities burning the flag and we decided-I promised them at that time that we would pass an ordinance to prohibit that from Iberville Parish," Council Chairman Matt Jewell said. He went on to say this ordinance has nothing to with NFL protests that are happening during the national anthem.
Adrian Dupont lives in Plaquemine and says he's very patriotic and supports the ordinance wholeheartedly.
"Respect the flag, honor your country, and that what it means to me," Dupont said.
Other residents agree with the ordinance, but Plaquemine resident Vanessa Gillis believes the punishment is too steep.
"The punishment for it, I think they should be made to pay for it. Going to prison, that's a no no," Gillis said.
The law will go into effect in 30 days and violators could face a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail.
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