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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 9, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 10
Mississippi town backs down, OKs Pride parade
Section One
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Mississippi town backs down, OKs Pride parade

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The town of Starkville, Mississippi, backed down from its previous decision and granted a permit for a Pride parade scheduled for March 24.

The city aldermen voted 4-to-3 to deny the permit last month, and they were promptly slapped with a federal lawsuit by the parade organizers. At their March 6 meeting, one of the 'no' votes switched to an abstention, making the vote 3-to-3 and allowing the mayor to break the tie.

'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,' attorney Roberta Kaplan, who represents the Pride organizers, said in a statement to the Starkville Daily News.

The switch was also hailed by HRC, which said local outrage pushed the city to 'do the right thing.'

The group 'has been proud to work alongside Starkville Pride and community leaders to make this parade a reality, and we look forward to a successful Pride celebration in a few short weeks,' Rob Hill, HRC's Mississippi director, said in a statement.

The Daily News reported that some had voiced concerns that the parade would feature explicit content, fears that Alderman Sandra Sistrunk was quick to dispel.

'They're going to have a parade, it's going to be a celebration, and I don't expect anything to fall into lewd or illegal behavior,' Sistrunk said.

According to WCBI-TV, based in Columbus, Mississippi, Starkville becomes 'one of the few' Mississippi municipalities to hold a Pride parade. The parade is scheduled in March rather than June so that Mississippi State University students, based in Starkville, can attend.

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Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan:

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