ACLU of New Mexico Defends Homeowners After Neighborhood Association Attempts to Censor “Impeach Bush” Sign

Affiliate: ACLU of New Mexico
December 5, 2006 12:00 am

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ACLU of New Mexico
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RIO RANCHO, NM – The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico announced today that it would take legal action against a Rio Rancho homeowners’ association if it made good on a threat to fine a local couple for projecting a sign that said “Impeach Bush” on the side of their home.

The Seven Bar North Homeowners’ Association told Robert and Linda Vasquez their sign violated a restrictive covenant and implied that they may face a possible fine. Since the couple began displaying the sign on their home in late August it has been shot at with firearms, neighbors have verbally assaulted the couple regarding the political message of the sign and other neighbors have trespassed on the Vasquez’s property while attempting to photograph the sign.
“The Vasquezes continue in their desire to be good neighbors in Seven Bar North, but they refuse to relinquish their right to free speech,” said Nancy Hollander, an ACLU of New Mexico Cooperating Attorney.

The Vasquezes use a device to project the 3×3 foot message on their home that reads “Impeach Bush.” Other homes in the neighborhood use similar devices to display holiday-related messages, such as “Happy Halloween.” Campaign signs were also prominently displayed last fall prior to Election Day. The ACLU of New Mexico is not aware of any violation being issued against the owners of these homes.

“This disparate treatment of the Vaquezes raises serious concerns that the Homeowners’ Association is trying to stifle protected speech because it doesn’t like the political opinion being expressed,” said Peter Simonson, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Mexico.

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