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To Janelle Griffith
A Wisconsin couple said they were ordered by the property owners of their apartment complex to remove his gay pride flag or expulsion.
Kevin Kollman and his partner Merle Malterer, who rent a unit at the Country Oaks Apartments in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, said they had received a five-day clearance notice in their email on Wednesday informing them that her lease would be terminated if she did not remove the American flag of gay pride – which contains 50 white stars and rainbow stripes – from the courtyard of the property.
The letter, a copy of which Kollman told NBC News that the couple violated a clause in their lease: "The renter may not physically alter or redesign the premises without permission in the building codes or the express written permission of the landlord as this causes the confidence of a contractor to move to the premises, to hand over waste to the premises or related property, or to install or exhibit anything that materially affects the exterior of the premises or the property to which it belongs. "
"We were frustrated at the time," Kollman said in a telephone interview with NBC News on Sunday.
The couple were asked by the "Green Bay Packers" flag in January to be property owners in order not to appear as an advertisement for the football team. They then fulfilled themselves. But on Wednesday, Kollman said they were seeking social media advice because they believe that this is a case of "selective persecution." They claim they are targeted for their sexual orientation. At the Country Oaks Apartments, ten to twelve people are hung with their American and police pride flags on their rental units.
"My flag does not matter," said Kollman. "It's just a symbol of who we are, where we came from and our love for the United States."
Kollman and Malterer said they had talked to Kenneth Bieck, Chief Executive Officer of Bieck Management, by the end of last week about their rental property and told them he wanted to remove the flag because it was visible from the administration office. They told him that they intend to keep the flag. They said they had flown their American flag in July with no problems and decorated their patio seasonally.
Bieck did not respond immediately with a comment from NBC News.
NBC subsidiary WBBH reported that the owner of the property is open
Kollman and Malterer have been living in their apartment for nearly six years for $ 870 a month and plan to renew their lease on Sunday.
"My big deal is the following: I'm not being bullied when I'm 52, and my partner is not," Kollman said. "We are not told that we do not agree with our legal claim under the First Amendment."