A gay couple in Arizona says that their Pride flag has been repeatedly vandalized, and now their Homeowners Association wants them to remove it.
Jared and Tim Deluca of Queen Creek, AZ, first posted a variation on the traditional Pride flag in December modeled after the American flag, with 50 stars and some of its 13 stripes cast in bright rainbow colors. It flew on a flagpole behind the married couple’s home in full view of a busy street.
The couple told CBS affiliate KTVK that they wanted to show people that it was ok to be themselves and encourage others not to hide their identity. But their message has been met with repeated harassment.
“The first thing that happened was one day I was outside in the back patio and I heard people screaming slurs from their car while passing behind our house,” Jared said. “Which is funny because they didn’t know I was there. They were literally screaming at my house for the sake of screaming at it.”
Days later, the flag was slashed. After the Delucas replaced the original with a traditional rainbow flag, that one was stolen. It was later found on the street a few blocks away and returned to the couple.
Jared alleges that after he and Tim replaced that flag, a neighbor driving past their home attempted to intimidate him and his mother. “It freaked us out pretty good. They took off down to the end of the road, went around the cul-de-sac, came back, came up in front of the house again, stared us down, and then took off, tires screeching into the community,” he said.
The couple has filed two police reports, but the harassment didn’t end there. MetroWeeklyreports that someone posting on a community Facebook group asked whether the Ocotillo Heights Homeowners Association had rules dictating the types of flags that can be flown outside homes, citing their desire to fly a Nazi flag.
Soon after, the Delucas received a letter from the Ocotillo Heights HOA claiming the couple had violated HOA rules by making a change to the exterior of their property. “Please remove your flag and restore your property to its original condition,” the letter, which included photos of the couple’s Pride flag, stated.
As KTVK notes, it is not uncommon for HOAs to restrict where homeowners can attach a flagpole to their property. Jared said that when he reached out to the community manager, he was told that the Pride flag is not covered under the Arizona Revised Statutes for flag displays.
Over the weekend, Jared posted another TikTok video, claiming to have confirmed that the neighbor who posted the Facebook message about wanting to fly a Nazi flag was the same person who allegedly attempted to intimidate him while driving past the couple’s home. He also claims to have been told by another neighbor that the same person has been bragging to people in the community about harassing the Delucas.
Jared told KTVK that he and his husband intend to continue flying their flag.