A town in Mississippi has 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 a meeting on Tuesday night.
Bailey McDaniel, an organiser with LGBTQ group Starkville Pride, said 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.”
— Starkville Daily (@StarkvilleDaily) February 21, 2018
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.
Even Starkville’s mayor, Lynn Spruill, supported the idea.
“I think it is one of those things that shows an inclusiveness in our community that is something I have long said we are,” she said. “We are diverse, we are not divided in my opinion and I don’t want [people] to start having that view of us now.”
Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller highlighted the importance of the vote beyond the social and personal implications, warning that millions of people would now have a negative view of the town following the rejection.
“I think you have to ask yourself the question, why wouldn’t we support this?” he said.
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.
This marks 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.
McDaniel said her group will be contacting groups like the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign and the Southern Poverty Law Centre to “take action” against the decision.
“There was no [reason] to deny our application. It was a perfectly fine application. I don’t think they realised what they’ve done,” she said.
The Human Rights Campaign have already spoken out against the town’s decision to turn down the Pride parade, calling it “shameful”.
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 21, 2018