HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A Huntsville soldier and his wife are at odds with their homeowners association over an American flag.
William Brandon Weir and his wife, Lauren, hung a flag outside their unit at Stepping Stone Condominium, but the HOA says it's a violation of the rules outlined in their bylaws.
Lauren said the couple received a notice from management to remove the flag as soon as possible.
According to the bylaws:
"Unit Owners shall not cause or permit anything to be hung or displayed on the outside of windows or placed on the outside walls or doors of a Building and no sign, awning, canopy, shutter or antenna of any kind shall be affixed to or placed upon the exterior walls or doors, roof or any part thereof or exposed on or at any window, without the prior consent of the Board of Directors."
Lauren questions whether the HOA can enforce the rule due to the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005.
After Lauren posted the photo of the HOA notice and flag on Facebook, it went viral. She went on a morning radio talk show in Huntsville Tuesday to discuss the issue, and her Facebook post has been shared nearly 2,000 times.
A group of Huntsville veterans and patriots took up the cause Tuesday afternoon, and held a demonstration at the couple's condominium. One of the members of the group got into a verbal altercation with the HOA board president, who said she is also a veteran.
The president said she is simply enforcing the bylaws of the homeowners association. She said she has received more than 2,000 angry emails so far, and some of the people who contacted her threatened her life.
According to the HOA president, the Weirs could have appealed the notice and the board would have considered letting the couple fly their flag outside their unit. Since the situation has come to light, the board will take it into consideration.
The board president said in a statement that Weir, who is not the owner of the unit, could have a flag on his property, but not on communal property.
Statement from the board:
"First and foremost the Stepping Stone Condominium Association Board supports and follows every law of the State of Alabama and the Federal Government. Secondly, we follow our Bylaws. All of the Stepping Stone Condominium units are individually owned, but the outside of all of the condominiums belongs to every one of the 126 owners. Because of that, we have bylaws disallowing anything to be put up, hung up, put out, sat out, to include a list of specifics. Our Management Team was doing their job by asking Mr. Weir, who is not even an owner, to remove the flag. He was not told he could not have a flag on his personal property, he was only asked to remove it from communal property. Several SSCA Board members work for the Department of Defense and support the Warfighter and at least one of us had also served in the Middle East. No one on the board knew there was an issue until early this morning, and instead of going through proper channels, Mr. Weir posted the letter he received on several veteran's websites. Members of the board have received literally thousands of emails many of which included bodily threats and legal threats. Now there are people standing on the Stepping Stone sidewalk holding flags. Mr. Weir did not note on the websites, or to the press that the flag is not on his personal property, but communal property. Our manager's name and number has been posted and issued to people who are harassing and threatening him, and he was only doing his job.
The board is considering making an addendum to the bylaws which would allow a flag flown close to a front door, but it is only in the discussion phase and has not been acted on as of yet."