The Mississippi city of Starkville on
Tuesday approved a permit for an LGBT Pride parade and related
Tuesday's vote was a tie, with 1
abstention. Mayor Lynn Spruill cast the deciding vote to allow the
March 24 event.
Aldermen previously voted 4-3 to deny
the event permit, which lead to the filing of a federal lawsuit
against the city of Starkville.
College students Bailey McDaniel and
Emily Turner filed their lawsuit after aldermen rejected their
request to hold an LGBT Pride parade.
The four aldermen who voted against the
permit have refused to explain their decision.
According to the lawsuit, consideration
of the women's permit was treated differently than dozens of other
special event applications approved in recent years.
“This difference in process is strong
evidence of viewpoint bias,” the lawsuit states.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights group, cheered the move.
“After the Starkville Board of
Aldermen shamefully denied a permit for a Pride parade, the community
rallied around Starkville Pride and pushed the city to do the right
thing and allow the LGBTQ community to peaceably assemble and
celebrate Pride in their own community,” Rob Hill, HRC Mississippi
state director, said in a statement. “HRC 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.”