Monday, 1 April 2019

'This is who we are': Gay couple says they were threatened with eviction by landlord after they put up a pride flag

A gay couple from Wisconsin says their landlord ordered them to remove a gay pride flag from the property.
Kevin Kollmann and Merle Malterer, who have lived in the same Country Oaks Apartments property in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, for the past six years, say they fear being evicted.
‘This is a place we love,’ Kollmann told WBBH-TV. ‘It's our home.’
‘This is who I am, this is who we are.’
Kevin Kollmann
Merle Malterer
Kevin Kollmann (left) and Merle Malterer (right), who have lived in the same Country Oaks Apartments property in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, for the past six years, say they fear being evicted
Kollmann is seen above standing outside his apartment, where he hung a gay pride flag
Kollmann is seen above standing outside his apartment, where he hung a gay pride flag
Kollmann says the property owner has threatened him and his partner with eviction unless the flag is removed
Kollmann says the property owner has threatened him and his partner with eviction unless the flag is removed
The couple’s future in their home became murky on Wednesday, when they received a note ordering them to take down a flag.
The flag showed the Stars and Stripes, but instead of red, white, and blue, they were colored in the LGBTQ rainbow, which has become a symbol of gay and trans pride.
The note accused the couple of breaching their lease. It said that they had five days to remove the flag.
‘Personally, I feel like we’re being kind of singled out here because it’s what it is,’ Kollman said.
Kollmann and Malterer say they are being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation
Kollmann and Malterer say they are being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation
Kollmann wrote a post on Facebook claiming that other tenants who live in the same property have also decorated the outsides of their apartments with flags and have not been told to remove them
Kollmann wrote a post on Facebook claiming that other tenants who live in the same property have also decorated the outsides of their apartments with flags and have not been told to remove them
The letter the couple received from the property owner is seen in the above image
The letter the couple received from the property owner is seen in the above image
‘It's a symbol of America, it's a symbol of our pride in America being a gay couple here in Oak Creek.’
The property owner, who has not been identified, told local media that he would have asked the couple to remove the flag irrespective of what symbol was on it.
The owner said he asked the same couple to take down a Green Bay Packers flag in January.
He said that hanging a flag on the property is a violation of the lease agreement.
But Ken Miller, another apartment tenant, says he has hung several flags outside his apartment and has not been asked to remove them. 
‘I've been here for three years, and I've had these flags up for at least two years and I've never had any issues with the flags,’ Miller said.
Kollmann and Malterer say that they plan to keep the flags in place.
The landlord has said he does not want to evict the couple and that he would be willing to sit down and discuss the matter.
The couple, meanwhile, is said to be considering legal action. 

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