Florida couple refuses to take down Pride flag after HOA demands: 'We were in shock'
A Florida homeowners association has ordered a gay couple to remove a small rainbow flag the size of a sheet of paper from their front yard. Eastland Cove, Fla., residents Mike Ferrari and Bob Plominski found themselves in a fight with the Eastland Cove Homeowners Association for displaying the Pride flag on their mailbox that they had put up to celebrate Pride Month.
The couple, however, has no intention of taking it down. Plominski and Ferrari had been living in the small suburban development for about 10 years. They were issued a citation on Saturday, June 5, 2021, that told them to take the flag down by June 15 or pay a $50 daily fine.
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Plominski and Ferrari reportedly told NBC Miami that they were confused upon receiving the notice especially since they have flown the pride flag before and posted flags for political candidates, the March for Our Lives and the Pride flag without any problems.
"I got upset," Plominski said. "We’ve done this before and it’s a simple showing of our pride to the community and it’s up for 30 days. We were in shock they were going to do that."
A violation notice
President of the Eastland Cove Homeowners Association Bob Brusseau said that the five-person board sent the couple a violation notice after they received a complaint about the couple's flags. Apparently, the complaint was made based on a rule that restricts residents from displaying only US or military flags in the neighborhood.
"It's in the document, and you can be sued," he told NBC News.
Reports say that fines actually won't be enforced until around 30 to 40 days from the issuing date of the citation, according to Brusseau. "Personally, I'll vote against any fine," he said.
Brusseau added that two board members didn't even wish to pursue the case, but the other three did. "As a board member, I was very upset that it was even brought up,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with [the rainbow flag]."
The couple has the right to appeal the association's decision before a grievance committee. "I really think the citation is because it’s a gay pride flag and someone in the neighborhood is offended, simple as that," Ferrari told NBC Miami.
Despite what the association says, and the threats of the fine, Plominski and Ferrari say they have no intention of taking the flag down, adding that they will continue to fly their pride flag until the end of the month.
Saying, they have no qualms about keeping the flag just where it is, the Plominski said, "It’s going to stay up until June 30. We as a community worked really hard to earn and get to where we are today. We’re not going to back down on this one."
"We are standing our ground," Ferrari said. "We are not removing our flag."
"My husband and I decided we weren’t going to stand by and take down our flag because somebody, I feel, was offended by the flag in our community," he said. "Ten dollars, $50, $100 a day - it’s staying up."
Brusseau reportedly says that "I wish it would just go under the rug and we’d live our happy lives like it never happened, but it depends on how the offender acts."