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Mississippi Town Will Get Its First Pride Parade After Federal Lawsuit Threat

Mississippi Town Will Get Its First Pride Parade After Federal Lawsuit Threat

Starkville Mississippi, Starville Pride, Starkville
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

The mayor of Starkville cast the deciding vote to pass the parade’s permit request.

A Pride parade in Starkville, Mississippi is back on schedule to take place March 24. The parade, the first ever of its kind in Starkville, was originally rejected when the request for a permit was put before the town's board of aldermen.

After a federal lawsuit was filed by two parades organizers saying the city had violated their freedom of speech and freedom of expression rights, alderwoman Sandra Sistrunk moved to bring the permit back before the board for a revote. After a tie of 3-3, with one of the original dissenting aldermen abstaining from the vote, Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill cast the deciding vote in favor of the parade, according to the Associated Press.

Related | Mississippi Town Rejects Request For Area's First Gay Pride Parade

"What happened here 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," said Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer for Starkville Pride and organizers Bailey McDaniel and Emily Turner.

Mayor Spruill, who doesn't normally vote on board matters, had been in support of the parade saying the permit's original disallowance didn't align with Starkville's "diversity and welcoming attitude," writes the AP. Read the full story, here.

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