Thursday, September 08, 2005

Displaying the American Flag Comes Under Fire

Orlando, FL – Nancy Maddox, the owner of Peacock Home Collection, located in Orlando Florida, has been cited by City of Orlando Code Enforcement Bureau for displaying the American flag in the windows of her business. Ms. Maddox has now obtained the representation of Liberty Counsel, a national litigation, education and policy organization.

Nancy Maddox is the daughter of a United States Veteran of three Foreign Wars and the wife of a federal agent who has served our country for 25 years. Nancy founded her business upon the proud principles of the American dream. She believes that those who fight to defend the United States have afforded her the privilege to live safely each day. To honor our military heroes, Ms. Maddox displayed a small American flag, no bigger than 34 ½ inches by 23 inches, in each of the 15 windows at the home furnishings company. The flags are temporarily being displayed in observation of the following holidays: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, V-J Day (the surrender of Japan), Labor Day, and Patriots Day (9-11). City officials cited Ms. Maddox and have now ordered her to remove the flags. A violation hearing is scheduled for September 14, 2005.

Erik Stanley, Chief Counsel of Liberty Counsel, has sent a letter to the City demanding that the citation be rescinded. The demand letter points out the procedural defects in the citation and also warns that the sign ordinance is unconstitutional. Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated: “I am astounded that the City of Orlando would reprimand anyone for displaying the American flag. We should encourage patriotism, not punish it.”

If the City proceeds with enforcement action, Liberty Counsel will file suit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the sign ordinance.