ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A hearing is set for March 8 in Denver Federal District Court in which a man is challenging his metropolitan district’s rules regarding when he can fly his gay pride flag. The American Civil Liberties Union and the homeowners are calling it a violation of the First Amendment.
On the sidewalk in front of his home David Pendery told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger, “For me it’s about a specific pride flag, but this is about a free speech issue.”
Pendery and his husband put up a gay pride flag outside their home in Whispering Pines near E-470 and Arapahoe Road. After posting a picture of it on Facebook, he received a violation letter from the local metropolitan district’s management company.
“I don’t think I should have to seek approval from the government for what is acceptable speech,” he said.
That’s the point. There have been stories of homeowners’ associations ordering flags to be taken down, but in Whispering Pines, it is a quasi-governmental entity, not an HOA.
David Rhodes lives a couple blocks away. There are all sorts of flags inside his garage so he could fly them at the same time.
“I think everyone has the right to fly the flag they want to fly and if they are LGBTQ, it’s fine also,” Rhodes said.
In this metro district, the regulations allow American flags to be flown all the time and flags for sports teams only during the event. There is a separate category for flags that require special approval.
Pendery says that’s not right.
“It’s essentially the government infringing on the First Amendment, very different from an HOA which can make arbitrary rules and doesn’t have the same accountability.”
The metro district has not yet commented to CBS4 or responded to the lawsuit.
The next step is for a federal judge to decide whether to grant Pendery’s request for a temporary restraining order to block this district from enforcing its flag and sign regulations. The ACLU is providing legal representation to Pendery in the lawsuit.