A Pennsylvania man is fighting his homeowner’s association for the right to hang an American flag on his front door.
Russell Diesinger of Exeter, Pennsylvania, is the father of a soldier fighting overseas.
In an opinion piece for The Mercury, he wrote: “My wife and I have been residents of the Wingspread townhouse community in Exeter for the past 16 years. Our oldest son has served in the United States Army Special Forces for the past 22 years.”
“Our family’s tradition has been to display a United States flag on our front door and a single electric candle in a window each time he is deployed," he continued.
According to a letter Diesinger received from the executive committee of his HOA, the community's by-laws have a newly-enacted ban on displaying the flag.
However, many residents disagree with the rule, and have placed American flags at the entrance of the community to show support.
"I get so angry,” Diesinger said, according to WHP. "If I think about it enough I get really angry."
Soon after receiving the notice, Diesinger and his wife got a letter threatening that they would be fined $50 per day until the flag was taken down, according to his op-ed. The couple responded in a letter, citing the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005.
The act states: "A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.”
The HOA did not respond to the couple for weeks until it requested $785.54 in legal fees for its lawyer to research the flag law.
"How did we get here?" Diesinger said, according to WHP. "What's happened in everybody's life that we can't help support one another and we can't just at least show a little empathy for people?"
Diesinger says the HOA can send him as many bills as it wants because he's not paying them. He also said if his son is deployed again, then he’ll put the flag back up.
"We have done it faithfully and you can't argue with the results," Diesinger said.
An attorney estimates it would cost Diesinger $9,000 if he fights the $785.54 fee, so he is waiting it out.