"This case is not at all about a fence."
So said a Chester County Judge in his decision this week when he dismissed a claim by neighbors who sued to have a gay couple tear down their fence.
Judge Jeffrey R. Sommer also gave the go-ahead for the couple to put in a backyard swimming pool which had been denied by a neighborhood association.
"The setting for our play is Bucktoe Manor an idyllic vision of suburbia located in New Garden Township," wrote Sommer, who apparently has aspirations of being a writer.
Sommer quoted Robert Frost, Thurgood Marshall, George Orwell, and even Bette Midler in his decision.
It all started when Keith Davis, who entered into a lease purchase with the owners, put up a six-foot fence shortly after moving into the property on Fernwood Drive.
Calls to Davis and his attorney Mary Anne Rossi were not immediately returned.
The decision was released Monday and first reported by the Daily Local newspaper.
Neighbors greeted Davis, who shared the property with his partner David Ruth and two adopted children, with the news that an Architectural Control Committee had to sign off before a fence would be approved.
"There is no doubt that once Mr. Davis's sexual orientation was discovered, the tenor of the neighborhood interactions changed," wrote Sommer.
Allison Bonne, who along with her husband Scott Bonne, Ryan and Kara Carpenter, Michael Lacinski, Doug Semmel and Frank Charlton later sued the couple, complained the fence interrupted the " 'never-ending' spacious views," wrote Sommer.
Calls to L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., the plaintiff's attorney, the Carpenters and Bonnes were not immediately returned.
Ryan Carpenter, whose backyard overlooked the couple's home, told Davis the fence must come down. Davis offered to soften the look with landscaping.
There would be no compromise, Sommer wrote.
Carpenter would yell homophobic slurs at the family dogs and called police 10 times about their barking. He complained that the light in the couple's yard was so strong he could make "finger puppets" on his walls, according to the court documents.
The couple turned the lights off.
After an unknown vandal spray painted "Get out FAGS," on the couple's garage door, and portions of the fence were hacksawed and boards were kicked out, the couple added more security lights, and a surveillance camera with ground sensors, that were later damaged.
Other neighbors had fences without objection, noted Sommer.
Davis, the judge concluded, was not provided due process.
"Here there is no civility or neighborliness," Sommer wrote in his decision.