Florida woman says HOA member told her to remove rainbow flag

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A renter in Rockledge's Ashwood Lakes subdivision said she was told to lower a gay pride flag after having flown it for two years.

"It's a symbol of acceptance, tolerance and equality," said Jenifer Raymond, a mother of three. "They're saying it's offensive. To me, that's like saying I'm offensive because I exist."

Raymond said her landlord received an email from a member of the neighborhood's architectural review committee, saying only American, state or military flags may be flown.

When it was pointed out that the community bylaws don't mention flags, the member cited part of the "ground maintenance section," saying it was deemed offensive and detrimental to the subdivision.

"Allowing the flag to be flown is setting a precedence for other homeowners to fly other offensive flags -- for example, the Confederate flag," the email said.

Raymond said she was astonished by the email.

"The Confederacy supported slavery," she said. "(The rainbow flag is) a symbol of equality and acceptance of all."

Other flags were spotted in the subdivision, including one depicting a flower, a Florida Gators flag and a Thin Blue Line flag, which is flown in support of law enforcement officers.

Those homeowners said they've never been asked to remove their flags.

An HOA attorney said if bylaws don't specifically limit flags and other flags are allowed, that could be considered discrimination.

"I'm not asking you to agree with me," Raymond said. "I'm asking you to respect my rights the same as yours."

Another member of the committee, who's also an HOA board member, said he was unaware of the email. He said the member who wrote it doesn't speak on behalf of the HOA, and he said he'll look into the matter.

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