Metro Weekly

Mississippi city pays $13,000 settlement after trying to stop Pride parade

The city of Starkville initially rejected a permit that would have allowed the first Pride parade to take place

Photo: Chillin662, via Wikimedia.

A Mississippi city that rejected a permit for an LGBTQ group’s pride parade has agreed to settle with the group.

According to the Clarion Ledger, Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill said the Board of Alderman approved a $12,750 payment to Starkville Pride.

The settlement, which was approved in a 4-1 vote, will pay for attorney fees as well as require Starkville to proclaim support during LGBTQ history month in October. Spruill also said she will meet with a liaison from the gay community regularly.

Home to Mississippi State University, Starkville came to the nation’s attention in February after its Alderman denied a permit in a 4-3 vote that would have allowed Starkville Pride to hold a parade on March 24. The pride group’s Attorney Roberta Kaplan called the denial a “blatant and overt violation of the First Amendment.”

Only a few weeks later, Starkville reversed course when the Aldermen voted 3-3 to approve the Pride Parade, with Spruill casting the tie-breaking vote in favor.

“Proud to be in Starkville,” Starkville Pride Director and Founder Bailey McDaniel told the Clarion Ledger after the vote. “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 hosted its first ever gay pride on March 24th, bringing over 2,500 people to the college town.

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