JACKSON, Miss. — The second time proved to be the charm for Starkville Pride.
After being denied permission to hold the first ever gay pride parade in Starkville, the community group got the go-ahead to put on the parade in the city during Tuesday’s Board of Alderman’s meeting.
The alderman voted 3-3 to approve the Pride Parade after Alderman David Little, who previously had opposed the parade, elected to abstain, saying the city needed to move past the dispute. The tie was broken by Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill’s vote in favor of the event.
“Proud to be in Starkville,” Starkville Pride director and founder Bailey McDaniel told the Clarion Ledger. “I’m just glad to be a 22-year-old again. I think this is a really good learning experience and this sets a precedent for activists in younger generations. I’ve been fighting for four years and the culmination of that was in that vote.”
Starkville Pride filed a federal lawsuit in February against the city after the board initially voted to deny the parade permit despite widespread town support. The lawsuit stated the board’s decision was “a textbook violation of the First Amendment and its discriminatory treatment, based solely on LGBT-related animus, violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.”
“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,” Starkville Pride’s attorney, Roberta A. Kaplan, said in a statement.
The parade is scheduled to be held March 24.