COLORADO – ACLU Challenges Subdivision Rules Limiting Freedom of Speech
ACLU Challenges Subdivision Rules Limiting Freedom of Speech
by Special to the Post |
Feb 24, 2021
Pagoda Daily Post| News/Politics
ACLU of Colorado filed suit this week in federal court to challenge a subdivision’s rules that arbitrarily prohibit residents from displaying certain flags and signs on their own property.
David Pendery, the ACLU’s client, wishes to display a Pride flag at his home to convey solidarity with LGBTQ+ families like his. He also wants to post a “We believe …” sign to encourage inclusivity and kindness. But both signs are prohibited by the rules of the Whispering Pines Metropolitan District #1 (Metro District), where Mr. Pendery lives in Arapahoe County. “Mr. Pendery has a constitutional right to fly a Pride flag and to post a social justice sign on his own property,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director. “The Metro District’s rules, which carry the force of law in the Whispering Pines subdivision, violate the First Amendment and the Colorado Constitution’s guarantee of free expression.
”When Mr. Pendery displayed a Pride flag last summer, he received a violation letter from the Metro District, which has the power to impose fines and place liens on the homes of non-complying residents. The Metro District subsequently granted approval for Mr. Pendery’s Pride flag, but specified that this “approval” would expire on December 31, 2020. The Metro District warned that Mr. Pendery was required to re-apply for “approval” if he wished to fly the flag in 2021.
The Metro District’s rules allow certain flags but prohibit others, like Mr. Pendery’s Pride flag, unless and until advance approval is obtained from the Metro District’s Design Review Committee. Similar rules allow signs with certain messages, but other signs, like the “We believe …” sign Mr. Pendery wants to post, are prohibited without advance approval. The Metro District has complete discretion over whether to grant or deny approval. There are no written guidelines to prevent censorship on the basis of the subject or viewpoint that the flag or sign communicates. Read more: ACLU Challenges Subdivision Rules Limiting Freedom of Speech | Pagosa Daily Post News Events & Video for Pagosa Springs Colorado