A city in Mississippi faces a lawsuit after officials refused a permit for its first Pride parade.
On Tuesday, Starkville’s Alderman denied a permit in a 4-3 vote that would have allowed Starkville Pride to hold a parade on March 24th.
Now the organizers of the event, Starkville Pride, are planning on filing a lawsuit against the city.
Attorney Roberta Kaplan will represent Starkville Pride and its main organizer, Bailey McDaniel, free of charge. Kaplan has been heavily involved with LGBTQ rights litigation issues.
“It’s pretty clear to us that what the town did here was a blatant and overt violation of the First Amendment,” Kaplan said to the Starkville Daily News. “You can’t deny people the right to speak publicly based on the contents of their speech.”
While not revealing any timelines or strategies, Kaplan told the newspaper that they plan on taking action as soon as possible.
“We intend to be very prompt,” Kaplan said. “We absolutely are going to do something to get this overturned.”
McDaniel told Starkville Daily News that residents are doubting they will follow through with a lawsuit, but she believes that the denial of their rights is not a joke.
“The people who are kind of balking at the idea that we would do this, not to be rude, but sit and watch,” McDaniel said. “It’s happening.”
While the parade is currently blocked, the pride festival is not, and will still be happening on March 23rd and 24th.
Whether life’s disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied, or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
‘Cause baby you were born this way – @ladygaga
Even though we’ve been denied, we’re still full of Pride. Join us in Starkville, MS March 23rd and 24th for Starkville Pride! 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/Yoz1oKrGYv
— Starkville Pride (@starkvillepride) February 21, 2018
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!