Could the Pride Flag be Offensive?
A woman in Brevard County, Florida received a surprising email from her HOA at Rockledge’s Ashwood Lakes community. The message was requesting that she remove the Pride rainbow flag that had been flying in front of her home for over two years.
Jenifer Raymond shared with WFTV 9 Orlando that her landlord received an email from a member of the neighborhood’s architectural review committee that only American, state, or military flags are allowed to be flown.
Raymond told WFTV:
It's a symbol of acceptance, tolerance and equality. They're saying it's offensive. To me, that's like saying I'm offensive because I exist.
Based on the community bylaws, the flag was deemed offensive and detrimental to the subdivision it also read the following:
Allowing the flag to be flown is setting a precedence for other homeowners to fly other offensive flags -- for example, the Confederate flag.
Meanwhile, other flags were found in the neighborhood which included one that displayed a flower, a Florida Gators flag, and a Thin Blue Line flag in support of law enforcement. Did these residents also receive this email? If flags are not specifically limited in the HOA bylaws, this could definitely be considered discrimination.
After the incident gained some statewide attention, Raymond received an apology from the HOA and stated that she can fly the rainbow flag for as long as she chooses.
According to WFTV, Robert Kelso, Vice President of the HOA, sent Raymond an email that read:
I thank you for contacting me this afternoon, as I and the rest of the Ashwood Lakes Homeowners Association, were unaware of the erroneous assertions of one of our ARC committee members. Board members contacted the property owner and his tenants to inform them that the rainbow flag is both acceptable to the board and welcome in Ashwood Lakes. Appropriate steps are underway to prevent a similar recurrence in the future.