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Watch: Gay Florida Couple, Facing Daily Fines, Refuses to Take Down Pride Flag

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday June 22, 2021
Originally published on June 21, 2021

A South Florida gay couple is facing fines of $50 per day for flying the rainbow flag during Pride Month, but they refuse to take the banner down, saying: "We're not going to back down on this one."

Mike Ferrari and Bob Plominski were surprised by an order to take the flag down that came from the Homeowners Association of Eastland Cove, the development near Fort Lauderdale where they have lived for the past decade, The New York Times reported. They had flown the Pride flag before — and other assorted flags as well — without issue.

But this year was different: The small rainbow flag they hung from their mailbox in celebration of Pride Month prompted "a notice from the Eastland Cove Homeowners Association warning that they could be fined if the flag was not removed," the story said.

"Homeowners can display only the flags of the United States, the state of Florida or the branches of the armed forces, or the P.O.W./M.I.A. flag, according to a copy of the notice," the Time noted. "The couple could face a fine of up to $50 and then a daily fine of $10 if they do not comply within 30 days, under the association's covenants."

According to the President of the HOA Bob Brosseau, nobody had ever indicated they had an issue with the couple's flags before. But now that someone has complained about the Pride flag, Brosseau insists, "We have to act on it." Not doing so would open the board up to a possible lawsuit.

All the same, he and one other board member opposed issuing the notice to Ferrari and Plominski. "As a board member, I was very upset that it was even brought up," said Brosseau. But once the five-member board voted, three were in favor of moving forward with the order to remove the flag, which as NBC Miami noted, is "the size of a single sheet of paper."

Ferrari told the media he and his husband will pay the money if they have to, but the flag stays up "until June 30."

"We as a community worked really hard to earn and get to where we are today," Ferrari told NBC Miami. "We're not going to back down on this one."

Speaking to the Times, Ferrari said: "It's a flag of happiness and joy and celebration, and there's nothing mean about it. And it's a pretty flag."

About a dozen of Ferrari's neighbors agree. After Ferrari went around the neighborhood to offer rainbow flags, 11 other residents raised theirs as well.

Watch the NBC Miami news clip below:

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.