And then they came for the flags. No, not an HOA, not a Condo Association, the actual government of the most populous county in Virginia! Fairfax County, Va. residents will be forced to remove their flags if they don’t meet county requirements, according to local news. The Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance Modernization Committee’s new ordinance that would regulate the size, height, and number of flags both businesses and individuals can fly in the county, WDVM reports. And Virginia residents are LIVID.
Fox News reports that if the Planning Commission signs off on the proposal, it would then go to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors next Tuesday for final approval. The ordinance requires:
- Reduce the size of flags to 24 square feet, which excludes the right to fly 50 square foot Fallen Hero Flags.
- Lower the height of flag poles to 25 feet.
- Limit the number of flags you can fly at your home to two, including national, state, military or college flags.
Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Gade, recipient of two purple hearts and Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Virginia, told Fox in an interview this is not a partisan issue – it’s a free speech issue.
“It’s deeply personal,” Gade said. “And it seems like the fact that they’re banning the flag, that’s the size that flies over our coffins when we’re buried. That seems like a personal affront to Virginia’s 900,000 veterans, America’s 18 million veterans.”
“There’s a lot of veterans who feel very strongly about this, Democrat veterans, Republican veterans,” he continued. “We all feel very strongly about this. And I’m personally offended by what they’re trying to do here.”
"It's deeply personal," Gade said. "And it seems like the fact that they're banning the flag, that's the size that flies over our coffins when we're buried. That seems like a personal affront to Virginia's 900,000 veterans, America's 18 million veterans."https://t.co/RRLw7B4YVs
— Daniel Gade (@gadeforvirginia) March 3, 2021
Mixed Opinions at the County Level
Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Jeffrey C. McKay gave written statement in defense of the ordinance,
“The Supreme Court has ruled that free speech extends to all signs and flags – our ordinance cannot categorize flags based on content,” McKay said. “The proposed ordinance aims to allow residents to still fly flags proudly with reasonable guidelines, while protecting everyone’s First Amendment rights.”
However, Phillip A. Niedzielski-Eichne, Fairfax County Planning Commissioner, said at a recent meeting, “I hope to goodness that we find a way to exempt our American flag from any suggestion that it’s comparable to the other flag.”
The American Flag is Considered Equal to BLM Flag or QAnon Flags
At a public hearing held regarding the proposed ordinance Robert Maggi took affront that the American flag is considered equal to others as well.
“No other flag or display can in any way be equated to the American flag,” Robert Maggi said at the public hearing.
“For me, it is the right of every American to fly the American flag on their property. Please ensure this right is made clear in the pending zoning regulations,” Maggi said.
Leslie Johnson, zMOD zoning administrator made it clear that they definitely consider the American flag equivalent to others because they “can’t regulate content”. She said,
“We’re not stopping anybody from flying an American flag if they want to, all we’re doing is putting parameters around the size, the location and the height,”
“We can’t regulate content, we can’t regulate the display. So somebody could display and has displayed a confederate flag, a QAnon flag, a Black Lives Matter Flag, a United States Flag. So that is one of the reasons why we’re trying to put some parameters on the size the height and the number.”