FREE SPEECH — Of course "lies and lying liars" are protected by the First Amendmentunless they're used to obtain a benefit of economic value or in violation of a sworn oath, or in reports to law enforcement authorities, for example. As noted by a Los Angeles Times editorial, the defenders of the Stolen Valor Act don't seem to get that.
Claiming a military excellence or experience you never had in order to get truly priceless things like public renown, a place in the Veteran's Day parade or even a readier romantic welcome is pathetic, but no sleazier than lies we come to expect as the sometimes counterfeit coinage in a democracy, namely fictive claims to one's own political fitness or libelous attacks on an opponent.
Miles Gloriosus, the braggart soldier, has been a figure of obvious and broad ridicule beginning with ancient Greek and Roman comedy. To jail him for straying from the truth is to punish the clown for disturbing the peace.
"Stolen" claims to combat sacrifice or heroism don't detract from or debase the salutation rightly given to those who have earned it, any more than is traditional marriage cheapened or diluted when that solemn bond is shouldered by two of the same sex. Just as no one owns the patent to lifelong love, no one owns the copyright to honor.