A New York woman was reportedly asked to take a "God Bless America" banner down from her cafe because it violated a town code.
Jennifer Aquino is the owner of 5 Mile Cafe in Penfield, New York. She frequently hangs American flags on the front of her cafe and even won a Patriotic Citizen award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars USA (VFW) nonprofit, WHEC reported.
She recently hung up a "God Bless America" banner. The Penfield town code only allows businesses to hang banners for three weeks of the year, and Aquino had reportedly used that time up already.
Aquino appealed to the Town Board and got permission to hang the banner the week of July 4th but not until then. On June 16, Aquino hung the banner up anyway.
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"I was driving into work yesterday, and I just was very compelled with all that's going on in Orlando and in our country," Aquino told WHEC. "I just really felt that that banner should be up."
A town official emailed Aquino, asking her to take the banner down.
"There's always two sides to every story," Penfield Town Supervisor Tony LaFountain told the news station.
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When asked why the banner was an issue, LaFountain said, "At one point we had banners all over the town and the town just looked trashy and our residents said enough's enough."
Despite the email, Aquino is still hanging the banner over her cafe as of June 30.
"I didn’t take it down," Aquino told Fox News. "And I was willing to pay the fine."
"The [message on the banner] means a lot to me – especially during this time in our country with all that’s going on with terrorism," she added. "I just can’t believe that I can’t have this banner up and be supported by the town board."
"The fact that I’m being asked to take it down is wrong," Aquino said. "It’s against my First Amendment rights. People need to open up their eyes. If we start letting them tell us we can’t do this – it’s going to get worse."
LaFountain told WHEC that the Town Board will speak with the Town Attorney about how to handle the situation.