Metro Weekly

Mississippi city faces lawsuit for blocking Pride parade

After a 4-3 vote denied the parade, acclaimed LGBTQ lawyer Roberta Kaplan will represent the group

Capital Pride Parade — Photo: Todd Franson

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.

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