Mississippi town reverses decision to ban ‘historic’ Pride parade

karendesuyo via Flickr

“I believe the city of Starkville’s interests are better served in moving forward beyond this.”

Last month, a town in Mississippi denied residents the right to hold their first ever Pride parade.

The Starkville Board of Aldermen approved the motion to deny the request to hold an LGBTQ parade with a 4-3 vote, despite 16 people speaking in favour of the event during the meeting.

Students and officials from Mississippi State University – as well as local business owners – were among those who spoke in favour of the town holding a Pride parade, according to the Starkville Daily News.

Dorothy Isaac, who spoke against the parade alongside Josey Creek Missionary Baptist Church pastor Thomas Rogers, reportedly argued: “God created Adam and Eve. Do not turn our city into a sin city. It should not be this.”

The ban marked the first time since 2014 that the Board of Aldermen has turned down an properly filed application, and they didn’t provide a reason for the rejection – although we’re sure you can take a shot in the dark.

Bailey McDaniel, an organiser with LGBTQ group Starkville Pride, said: “We wanted to have a day of celebration and inclusiveness. Without explanation or warning, a whole community of people have been denied their constitutional rights.”

She added that she wished the city could have been “part of the historic event” but assured: “This isn’t the last they will hear from us about this issue.”

Looks like she was right, because the town has now reversed their decision to ban the parade.

Due to the enormous amount of backlash, Alderman Richard Little changed his decision, leading to a tie with Mayor Suruill, who favoured ultimately favoured the event and reversed the ban.

“I believe the city of Starkville’s interests are better served in moving forward beyond this,” said Little.

Starkville Pride lawyer, Robert Kaplan, said: “What happened at tonight’s meeting was a victory. Not only for our clients and for their equal dignity under the law, but also for the core principle that in this country.

‘We do not restrict a person’s ability to speak based on whether or not we agree with what they have to say.

The Starkville Pride parade will take place 24 March.

McDaniel set up a GoFundMe page to help support the campaign. For those who want to donate, click here!

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