A well-known Christian law firm with ties to President Trump has taken up the fight to keep little white crosses on display at homes in The Villages.
The American Center for Law & Justice is representing Wayne Anderson, who has defied orders to remove his little white cross from his yard in the Village of Tamarind Grove.
Viewers of Fox News and other media know the ACLJ from guest appearances by Jay Sekulow, its chief legal counsel. He also is the personal attorney for President Trump. At the Supreme Court of the United States, Sekulow has argued cases 12 times – including several landmark cases which have become part of the legal landscape in the area of religious liberty litigation.
“Now the ACLJ has come to The Villages to defend the federal and constitutional rights of Villagers,” Anderson said.
The ACLJ on Oct. 7 sent a letter of demand to The Villages Community Standards Department claiming that Florida’s Friendliest Home is in violation of federal law by selectively enforcing deed restrictions, regarding the display of the little white cross, which is considered a lawn ornament. You can see a copy of the letter at this link: Letter from the ACLJ
The ACLJ cites federal law under the Fair Housing Act and federal regulations under Housing and Urban Development to prove the demand.
“By law, The Villages cannot allow some homeowners to display lawn ornaments, while prohibiting and punishing others who display them. This is selective enforcement — and it’s against federal and state law,” Anderson said.
In August, Anderson defiantly told the Community Development District 8 Board of Supervisors he would not remove his little white cross. At that public hearing, where he was backed up by a crowd of Villagers, Anderson was informed he would be facing $25 daily fines until the cross came down. Anderson received a $700 invoice on Sept. 23.
Anderson’s case was set in motion when Community Standards received an anonymous complaint about his little white cross.
The ACLJ has called on The Villages to end its practice of allowing anonymous complaints to enforce deed regulations.
“This despised practice is not only against The Villages own deed-compliance regulations, but more importantly it is ‘blatantly arbitrary and selective enforcement … in violation of the protections afforded (Villagers) by the United States Constitution,” the ACLJ wrote in its letter.
Interested persons can contact the ACLJ for comment or support of the little white cross at: www.aclj.org or (800) 342-2255.