The plight of a Chandler mother whose son is stationed in Iraq prompted the Senate Government Committee to vote Monday to let her — and everyone else — fly military flags despite rules to the contrary by homeowners associations.
But the measure doesn’t stop there. SB1055 would overrule restrictions that bar people from flying the state flag, the flag of any Indian nation or even a flag from a church or religious denomination.
And by the time they’re done, that list is likely to lengthen.
The measure came from Sen. Linda Gray, R-Glendale, who said she read about Virginia Trimble whose 23-yearold son, Bill, is a Marine. Trimble got in trouble for violating the rules of her association when she decided to fly the Marine Corps flag.
Generally speaking, planned communities and homeowners associations are entitled to enact rules about the outward appearance of homes and yards. But legislators voted four years ago to craft a single exemption for the U.S. flag.
Gray said, though, none of that helped Trimble with her problem. So she sought to amend the law to expand the list of permitted flags to include those of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.
Sen. Bill Brotherton, D-Phoenix, said that was fine — but it did not go far enough. So he tacked on an amendment for the state, American Indian and religious flags.
Sen. Barbara Leff, RParadise Valley, questioned whether even that goes far enough. She suggested the state should let homeowners fly any flag they want.
Brotherton said that’s fine with him. But he questioned whether lawmakers are ready to go down that path, pointing out that would permit someone to fly the rainbow flag, which has become a symbol of gay rights.
But there are likely to be further changes. Gray pointed out, for example, that even with the new law homeowners associations would be allowed to bar residents from flying the black and white banner for prisoners of war and those missing in action.
“This is a freedom of speech issue,’’ Gray said.
The measure now goes to the Senate.