- Kevin Kollman and his partner, Merle Malterer, were told to remove a gay pride American flag from the patio of their unit at Country Oaks Apartments in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, last week.
- They said they received an eviction notice over the flag on Wednesday that said their lease would be terminated if it wasn’t removed.
- The property owner said residents are not allowed to display any type of flag, but Kollman said many neighbours display American and police-related flags on their properties.
A couple in Wisconsin said they were threatened with eviction from the apartment they have lived in for six years after displaying a gay pride flag on the property.
Kevin Kollman and his partner, Merle Malterer, said they received a five-day eviction notice in the mail on Wednesday for the unit they rent at Country Oaks Apartments in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, according to NBC News.
The notice said the couple’s lease would be terminated if they did not remove a gay pride American flag from their property’s patio.
The flag, which Kollman told WBBH is a symbol of “pride in America being a gay couple,” features 50 white stars and rainbow stripes.
“My flag is not doing anything,” Kollman told NBC News. “It’s just a symbol of who we are, where we came from and our love for the United States.”
The couple previously had to take down a Green Bay Packers flag in January after the property owner told them he didn’t want it to appear as though the building was advertising for the football team.
The property owner told WBBH that taking down the gay pride flag is not an issue with discrimination, and it’s instead an issue of the property’s appearance, adding that no tenants are allowed to display flags.
The letter Kollman and Malterer received on Wednesday said tenants cannot display anything on their property without permission.
“Tenant shall not, without permission, in the building rules or specific written approval of landlord, physically alter or redecorate the premises, cause any contractor’s lien to attach to the premises, commit waste to the premises or the property of which it is part, or attach or display anything which substantially affects the exterior of the premises or the property of which it is part,” the letter said, according to NBC News.
The couple said, however, that several other apartment residents display American and police-themed flags and have not been asked to remove them.
“My big thing is this: I’m not going to be bullied at 52 years of age, neither is my partner,” Kollman told NBC News. “We’re not going to be told we’re not in compliance with our legal right under the First Amendment.”
As of Monday, the couple had not been evicted from the property.
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