Pride Month

Asked to Take Down Pride Flag, Wisconsin Couple Sets Up Rainbow Floodlights Instead

New neighborhood association rules tell residents they can only fly the U.S. flag, as opposed to others representing sports teams, Black Lives Matter or Pride

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After being told to take down their Pride flag, one Wisconsin couple found a clever alternative that caught the internet's attention, the Milwaukee Journal Sentential reported.

According to the newspaper, Memo Fachino and his husband Lance Mier lit up their house with a rainbow of lights after being asked to take down their original Pride flag in accordance with the neighborhood association's new guidelines.

Fachino posted to a Reddit forum about the matter, which received over 83,000 reactions and more than 6,000 comments.

"Looking through our new rules, we noticed that removable lights are permitted without restriction so ... we bought 6 colored floodlights, and we washed our house in pride colors. A little less subtle than our simple flag. A lot more fun for anyone complaining about the flag itself and what it represents," he wrote.

Fachino posted a follow-up comment on the post, saying it got far more attention than anticipated and that he wanted to clarify he doesn't hate his housing authority. According to the newspaper, he sits on the board.

rainbow floodlights pride
Memo Fachino
A Wisconsin couple lit up their house with a rainbow of lights after being asked to take down their original Pride flag in accordance with the neighborhood association's new guidelines in June 2021.

The new rules tell residents they can only fly the U.S. flag, as opposed to others representing sports teams, Black Lives Matter or Pride.

The newspaper reported that a neighbor spotted the couple's rainbow flag and reported it to the housing association. Fachino and Mier then received an email requesting it be removed.

The house is only lit for three hours per night, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., according to the Sentenial.

In a similar situation in suburban Buffalo Grove, some residents are calling on officials to change their stance on raising flags at government buildings in support of Pride Month.

More than three dozen residents attended a village board meeting on Monday, with many wearing Pride gear and carrying rainbow flags. The residents showed up to air their frustrations about leaders declining to raise the flag at Village Hall.

“(We want) for the board to understand what a big deal it is for the community to raise the flag. Other communities are doing it,” Carolyn Pina of the Pinta Pride Project said.

Pinta pointed to other nearby communities that have raised the Pride flag at public buildings. In suburban Northbrook, the Pride flag has been waving at Village Hall since the start of the month.

“It’s just about who you want to love, and who you are as a person,” youth activist Hanna Osharow said.

Former Village Board Member Jeffrey Berman argues that raising the Pride flag could open the door for other organizations to make the same requests.

“Today it’s rainbows. Next it could be a swastika, the ‘stars and bars,’ a right to life flag. You don’t know,” he said. “And once you say it’s a public forum, you don’t have the right to judge the content of the message. When you talk about opening government property for private messages, you’re talking about the First Amendment.”

Pinta says that other officials have brought up the fear of lawsuits and other flag requests as part of the reason for not putting up the Pride flag, but newly elected town clerk Kristal Larson supported activists in their push to raise the flag, thanking them for support in helping her become the first transgender elected official in Lake County.

“I think it’s pretty clear in this case. The federal, state and county governments, and numerous municipalities are flying flags,” she said. “There is no controversy.”

No decision has yet been reached on whether to raise the flag.

The CEO of The Trevor Project, Amit Paley, said his organization is reaching out this month to LGBTQ youth, and particularly vulnerable black LGBTQ youth, despite the cancellation of Pride events due to COVID-19.
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