Yet another homeowner’s association has taken issue with an historic American phrase. After an HOA in Florida told Joe Milenkovic he couldn’t display a “God Bless America” magnet on his garage door, another in Arizona has told Andy C. McDonel that he cannot display his “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. The irony seems apparent.
After flying the flag above his house, the New York Times reports, he received a letter from the HOA telling him to “remove ‘the debris’ from his roof.”
“It’s a patriotic gesture,” McDonel, who has vowed to fight the HOA’s mandate, told the Times. “It’s a historic military flag. It represents the founding fathers. It shows this nation was born out of an idea.”
The HOA defends itself by saying it’s only enforcing Arizona law:
Should the Arizona Legislature expand the Community Association Flag Display Statute to include the Gadsden Flag, the Association will accommodate Mr. McDonel’s desire to display it. Bottom-line, anyone considering residing in a community association should carefully review the association’s governing documents beforehand to ensure that the community is a good fit for them.
The American Civil Liberties Union has come to McDonel’s defense:
We’re urging the homeowners’ association to adopt a less limited interpretation of the statute,” said Dan Pochoda, the legal director for the civil liberties group. “The Gadsden flag meets the spirit of the law. It’s a historic military flag. Many consider it the original American flag, before the Stars and Stripes.
According to the article, similar battles are raging in Colorado and Connecticut.