By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
Plans for the first ever LGBTQ PRIDE Parade were shattered after local leaders in the town of Starkville, Mississippi, denied a permit to LGBTQ support group Starkville Pride to hold what would have been the historic first ever gay pride parade in the town with a population of 26,000.
Needless to say the LGBTQ support group Starkville Pride were outraged as the event had been planned to take place on March 24. Those plans and the costs were hit with a missile on Tuesday Feb. 20 when the Starkville Board of Aldermen voted 4-3 to deny the permit. Now here is the kicker…sixteen people spoke in support of the event while you heard several in the audience who did not speak, voice their support with “yeah” and “why not”…but there were only two spoke on hand to voiced their objection to the historic event.
Even Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill supported what would have been historic event by saying “This one of those things that shows an inclusiveness in our community that is something I have long said we are” said Spruill. “We are diverse, we are not divided in my opinion and I don’t want to start having that view of us now.” said Spruill.
One of the attendees at the meeting Dorothy Isaac, told The Associated Press why she was against the PRIDE parade…“God created Adam and Eve. Do not turn our city into a sin city. It should not be this.” said Isaac.
The Daily News got comment from Starkville Pride Bailey McDaniel, who said…”I wish the city could have been a part of this historic event for Starkville, but they’re not,” said McDaniel. “All I can say is that this isn’t the last they will hear from us specifically about this issue,” said McDaniel.
McDaniel also told the Daily News that they are not giving up and they plan to reach out to the Southern Poverty Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Campaign to see what legal steps we can take against this obvious discrimination. “There was no means to deny our application.” added McDaniel. “It was a perfectly fine application,” said McDaniel.
The ACLU of Mississippi released for the following statement:
“The ACLU of Mississippi calls upon the city of Starkville to act swiftly in approving a request from a grassroots group planning to host the city’s first Pride Parade on March 24. The Starkville Board of Aldermen’s recent denial of the request potentially violates the First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
“The government cannot prevent a parade or event simply because it promotes LGBTQ pride or because its organizers and marchers are LGBTQ. In addition, the government cannot treat people unequally because they are LGBTQ. This is exactly what the Board of Alderman did, and that is discrimination, plain and simple. It also violates the Constitution.
“It is disappointing and disturbing that the Starkville Board of Alderman would decide to treat LGBTQ people differently from everyone else. The ACLU of Mississippi, therefore, urges the Starkville Board of Alderman to reconsider their decision and approve the request.”
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