A renter in a Brevard County, Florida neighborhood was asked to remove the pride flag she’s flown for the last two years, with a member of the local Homeowner’s Association calling flag “offensive.”
Jennifer Raymond, who rents a home in Ashwood Lakes Subdivision, was contacted by her landlord, Anthony Posada after he received an email from the Homeowner’s Association’s Architectural Review Committee.
“Allowing the flag to be flown is setting a precedence for other homeowners to fly other offensive flags – for example, the Confederate flag,” said the email, which asked that the flag be removed.
Raymond, a lesbian mother of three, disagreed. “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.”
The letter did indeed come from a member of the Architectural Review Committee, Chris Fahey. Fahey had pressed the issue of the flag in a past meeting of the Homeowner’s Association-based committee, but the board as a whole did not take action at the time.
The email was sent to Posada, after he sent a letter seeking to install a new roof on the property. The letter cited HOA policies stating that, “no weeds, vegetation, rubbish, debris, garbage, objects, waste, or materials of any kind whatsoever shall be placed or permitted to accumulate upon any portion of a lot, which would render it unsanitary, unsightly, offensive, or detrimental to the subdivision.”
In spite of the email and a threatened $50 fine, Posada did not ask his renter to remove the flag.
“It was the right thing to do,” Posada told Florida Today. “I support my tenant. Jenifer is a great tenant and a good person.”
Fahey had also stated that only American, state, or military-specific flags could be flown. At that time, there were many other flags to be found in the subdivision seemingly in violation of the above, including a “thin blue line” flag in support of police officers, and a Florida Gators flag.
It is unclear if Fahey also sent emails to the owners of these flags.
Vice President of the HOA, Robert Kelso, stepped in, sending Raymond his own email to clear up the matter.
It read, in part, “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.”
It is assumed that Fahey took actions into his own hands, and overstepped his authority as a member of the Architectural Review Committee.
“He didn’t have the right or the authority to speak on behalf of the board,” said Kelso.
Fahey has been removed from the committee in the wake of this issue.