Panhandle couple wages legal battle over Trump banner fines
SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A Florida couple is waging a legal battle with Walton County over prohibited banners showing support for former President Donald Trump.
County officials say the large “Trump Won” and “Let’s Go Brandon” banners on the balcony of the home of Marvin and Paige Peavy violate local sign ordinances. A fine of $50 a day is being assessed.
“Let’s Go Brandon” is a political slogan popular with Republicans as a veiled, derogatory dig against Democratic President Joe Biden. Walton County, in the Panhandle, is in the deepest red part of Florida.
After losing an administrative code enforcement hearing last week, Peavy lawyer Robbie Sickler told the Northwest Florida Daily News he will take the couple’s case to circuit court and argue the ordinance violates free speech protections and is selectively enforced based on citizen complaints.
“That is the very definition of selective enforcement, they’re not working based on an ordinance, they’re working based on who files a complaint,” Sickler said. “That creates an adversarial environment that pits neighbor against neighbor.”
The Peavy banner issue has become a cause for local Republicans as well as Trump supporters from across the U.S.
“The support here, really from all over the country, has been just unreal,” Paige Peavy said. “It’s freedom of speech, that’s what we’re fighting for.”
The Peavys have already been ordered to pay $1,269 for 23 days worth of fines and a $119 administrative fee, code officials said at a hearing Wednesday. The banners are prohibited because they are along a county road classified as a scenic corridor.
“We’re in a mess right now in this country. People are grasping to hold onto their freedoms,” Paige Peavy said. “That’s why they’re supporting us.”
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