PHOENIX – An Arizona man says he won't stop selling anti-war T-shirts with the names of thousands of American service members killed in Iraq, even though Arizona has made it a crime to use their names without their families' permission.
In fact, Dan Frazier of Flagstaff said he plans a new version that will have an updated list of the casualties.
Complaints from service member's families about Frazier's T-shirts prompted the Legislature to pass a bill making it a misdemeanor to use a dead soldier's name or photo without permission.
Gov. Janet Napolitano signed the emergency measure on Thursday, putting the new law into effect immediately and making Arizona the fourth state with a similar law.
Frazier, who had urged Napolitano to veto the bill, said it infringes on his free-speech rights because the T-shirts are political statements.
The current T-shirt lists the names of 3,155 service members killed in shirt with slogans such as "Bush lied — They died."
"This significantly lowers my opinion of the governor," Frazier said in an e-mail after being contacted by The Associated Press. "We have no plans to stop selling the shirts."
Louisiana and Oklahoma enacted similar laws last year, also at the urging of dead soldiers' family members, and Texas' governor on Wednesday signed into law a bill which takes effect Sept. 1.
In Arizona, violations would be punishable by up to six months in jail and fines up to $2,500 for an individual and $20,000 for an enterprise. The Arizona measure also authorizes families to sue.
The American Civil Liberties Union's Arizona affiliate also urged Napolitano to veto the bill, saying that the threat of criminal prosecution would cause some people to refrain from constitutionally protected speed and expression.
Because of the free-speech interests at stake, the ACLU would consider taking action in opposition to the law if there's a criminal or civil case that goes to court, said Dan Pochoda, legal director of the state affiliate. "It is clearly directed at the content of the message."
Tim Nelson, Napolitano's general counsel, said the families' rights to control commercial use of the relative's names was the deciding factor for Napolitano, a former state attorney general.
"You don't have a constitutional right to make money off a dead soldier's name," Nelson said Friday. "This one was never a serious veto candidate."