A gay couple in Queen Creek, Arizona, have been targeted by a vandal, and now, by their homeowners association (HOA) for flying a Pride flag outside their home.
Jared and Tim Deluca have taken to TikTok, documenting, over the course of several videos, the trouble they’ve encountered in recent weeks.
The original flag, which follows the design of the American flag — with 50 stars and 13 stripes, six of which include the colors of the traditional Pride flag — was erected on a pole outside the back of the Delucas’ house, facing a busy street, in December.
But some neighbors appeared to take offense at it, with some passerby screaming slurs from their car while passing by the house on one occasion.
Noting that he was not visible to the passerby and that there were no signs that anyone was home at the time, Jared Deluca told Phoenix-based CBS affiliate KTVK that the rabble-rousers “were literally screaming at my house for the sake of screaming at it.”
A few days after that incident, the flag was slashed. After the destroyed one was replaced with a traditional six-color Pride flag, someone stole that flag and broke the flag pole. A neighbor later found it on a street a few blocks away, and returned it to the Delucas.
Jared Deluca told KTVK that most of their neighbors have been supportive, but not all of them. One neighbor allegedly tried to intimidate Deluca outside his home.
“They took off down the end of the road and went around the cul-de-sac. They came back, stared us down, and then took off with tires screeching into the community,” he said.
The Delucas say that the harassment has made them feel targeted and unsafe. They have since filed two police reports complaining about it.
But even after the flag was returned to them, the Delucas have found themselves battling back another attempt to force them to remove the flag.
One person allegedly asked, on a community Facebook group, whether the HOA rules for the community they live in place certain restrictions on the type of flag residents can fly on or outside their property. That person claimed to be asking because they wanted to fly a Nazi flag on their property — a veiled dig at the Delucas’ Pride flag, which some conservatives, especially opponents of same-sex marriage, believe is a controversial symbol that expresses hostility toward Christianity.
Soon after that post was made, the Ocotillo Heights Homeowners Association sent the Delucas a letter claiming the couple had made a change to the exterior of their property that is prohibited under the HOA rules.
Deluca called the community manager to figure out an alternative arrangement that would allow them to continue flying the Pride flag. But the manager claimed that the Pride flag is not covered under the Arizona Revised Statutes for flag displays, which blocks HOAs from prohibiting the display of the American, state and military branch flags.
In a TikTok update, Jared Deluca has since detailed how one of the couple’s neighbors sent them a message on TikTok identifying the person who has been complaining to the HOA and who allegedly has been bragging to other neighbors about how he’s harassed the Delucas. It’s still unclear whether that same person was the one who shredded the flag or stole it.
Deluca told KTVK the flag will remain in place for now, although it’s unclear whether the HOA will take retaliatory action against them.
“I’ve been asked over the past month, ‘Is it worth it?’ ‘If something were to happen to you and your husband, is it worth it?’ It is,” he said.
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