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DENVER (KDVR) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado is suing an Arapahoe County subdivision for not allowing a resident to display a gay pride flag and social justice sign on his property.

ACLU filed the lawsuit in a federal court on Tuesday against the Whispering Pines Metropolitan District #1. The civil rights organization said in a court document that David Pendery, a resident of the subdivision, displayed a pride flag last summer and then 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.

Pendery also wanted to post a “We believe …” sign to encourage inclusivity and kindness.

David Pendery’s social justice sign. Photo credit: ACLU of Colorado

The subdivision eventually granted approval for Pendery’s pride flag but specified that this approval would expire on Dec. 31, 2020, and Pendery would have to re-apply for approval if he wanted to fly the flag in 2021.

ACLU is arguing the subdivision’s rules violate the First Amendment and the Colorado constitution’s right of free expression.

In a statement, ACLU said:

“ACLU’s lawsuit asserts that the rules in Whispering Pines violate the First Amendment in two ways. First, in distinguishing between flags or signs that are automatically allowed and ones that are prohibited absent approval, the rules discriminate on the basis of the message that the sign or flag communicates. Second, when residents are required to seek approval for a sign or a flag, the Metro District has no written guidelines to prevent decisions from being based inappropriately on the message or the viewpoint expressed.”

 “We immediately felt at home when we moved to the neighborhood last year and formed strong relationships with our neighbors,” Pendery said in a media statement. “But it’s incredibly disheartening that the governing body whose primary responsibility is to protect residents’ investments instead chooses to focus its limited resources on violating our right to free speech.”

FOX31 and Channel 2 reached out to the homeowners’ association late Tuesday afternoon. We have not yet heard back.