IRVINE (CBSLA.com) — An Irvine woman who adorned her home with rainbow bulbs has sparked a controversy in her neighborhood.
Dr. Mary Pham had no intention of covering her Irvine home with rainbow Christmas lights. But she says when the rainbow flag she displays on her home sparked hate mail and neighbors’ complaints, she decided it was time to make a statement.
“Pride,” said Pham. “Pride for my home, pride for all my friends.”
Pham, a straight woman and single mother, said her gay friends inspired her to display the rainbow flag and lights with pride.
“Since it’s Christmas, let’s come up with some lights,” said Pham.
Her lights and flag led to controversy. When her gay pride flag fell down, an anonymous resident left a handwritten note urging her to put it back up.
Meanwhile, Pham says others have driven by and yelled racial slurs. She was notified by her homeowners’ association that some of her neighbors wanted the flag to be taken down, she said.
One neighbor wrote to the homeowners’ association asking “is the gay pride display protected by free speech rights?”
The letter went on to say that “neighbors are shaking their heads in disgust.”
“The flag has two wedding rings interlocked,” another neighbor wrote. “It’s an eyesore.”
Pham told KCAL9’s Stacey Butler she was accused of making an offensive political statement that was “in your face” to neighboring residents.
When someone started placing offensive fliers on her car, she filed a complaint with the Anti-Defamation League.
The homeowners’ association reportedly wrote to the neighbors saying that they could not stop Pham from displaying the flag. None of those who objected were willing to speak on camera.
Pham says she is asking for one thing this holiday season.
“Instead of giving a gift of an item, why don’t you give the gift of kindness,” she said.