Wisc. Homeowners Who Were Told to Take Down Pride Flag Find Colorful Loophole to Show Support
Husbands Memo Fachino and Lance Mier lit their home in rainbow lights because the homeowner's association only allows the American flag
A Wisconsin couple is being praised for the rainbow lights aglow at their home after they received a request to remove a Pride flag.
Memo Fachino tells PEOPLE he never expected his Reddit post, in which he opened up about the flag dilemma involving his Racine neighborhood's homeowner's association, to reach as many people as it did.
However, because of the way that Fachino and his husband, Lance Mier, abided by the HOA's request while simultaneously showing their support for Pride, his post has taken off and received over 83,000 responses.
"It's crazy to see this go viral. We live in a quiet community, in a very low traffic area, so we never expected this to take off or get the attention it's gotten," he says. "It's a very light approach and definitely not intended to make a huge statement, other than diversity and representation matters."
In his Reddit post, which was shared on the site last week, Fachino said his HOA requested that he take down his Pride flag following a report from a neighbor.
"Due to some neighbors flying BLM [Black Lives Matter] flags, Thin blue line flags, and other opinion flags, our HOA decided last month that we're only allowed to fly the USA flag, and nothing else," Fachino wrote. "The day after the decision, we receive an email that someone reported our Pride flag (that we had in our house since 2016), and that we needed to take it down."
Fachino - who told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he joined his neighborhood's HOA board in order to be "a bigger part of the conversation" - honored the request but also wanted to continue showing his support for the LGBTQ+ community.
After removing the flag, Fachino said he and Mier started to research other ways they could keep the rainbow colors present outside of their house.
They eventually came up with the idea to display rainbow lights on the exterior of the home.
"Looking through our new rules, we noticed that removable lights are permitted without restriction so we bought 6 colored floodlights, and we washed our house in pride colors," he wrote on Reddit. "A little less subtle than our simple flag. A lot more fun for anyone complaining about the flag itself and what it represents."
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"We believe inclusion and diversity are important and wanted to showcase ours and what we believe in," he adds to PEOPLE. "In the past, flying our flag helped a neighbor struggling with gender identity, so [we thought] maybe this may help someone else."
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the lights are usually displayed for three hours each night, from 7 to 10 p.m. Fachino told the outlet that his neighbors have generally been "supportive" of his solution.
"I didn't share it on the neighborhood app or try to make a big point that everyone should know about it," he said. "I just thought it was a funny loophole, and it just kind of took off from there."
Though social media users have applauded the couple for their creativity, Fachino emphasized that it was not done out of disrespect to his HOA.
"We're not trying to stick it to anyone," he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We don't feel targeted or attacked in our community. It was just a fun way for us to show our individuality and support in a way that didn't break any HOA rules."
"We never felt attacked or singled out by our HOA, and are very happy with the positive and supportive approach we got from our community," he adds to PEOPLE.
And while Fachino does not agree with the flag policy, he does hope some good will come from the situation.
"It'll be fun for light bulb companies to come up with a Pride edition of lightbulbs that you can send in a box in June," he suggested to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Maybe the profit could benefit a foundation or something. It was just a fun thing for us to do."