PHOENIX (CN) – The ACLU has intervened for a man whose homeowner’s association told him he cannot fly a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag outside his home. The Avalon Village Community Association threatened to fine the man unless he removed the “Gadsden flag,” which the HOA allegedly called “debris.”
In a Monday letter on behalf of Andy McDonel, an ACLU attorney cited an HOA’s “well publicized denial” of a display of the Gadsden flag in 2003, which resulted in an Arizona statute prohibiting HOAs from barring “any U.S. military flag.”
The Gadsden flag, a yellow flag bearing a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread On Me,” has been used by the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy since 1775.
The HOA’s attorney claimed that the Gadsden flag is not covered by the statute, and that McDonel had to remove it, and the flagpole, because he did ask for the HOA’s permission.
“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 HOA’s attorney wrote.
The ACLU asked in its letter to resolve the matter “without resorting to time-consuming and costly formal proceedings.”
McDonel, who has been flying the flag outside his home for months, plans to keep flying it.