US: Group plans lawsuit against Starkville after LGBT pride parade blocked

The grassroots organization Starkville Pride plans to file a lawsuit against the city after the Starkville Board of Alderman voted to deny its permit request for an LGBT Pride Parade.

Aldermen approved the motion to deny the request with a 4-3 vote. Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver, Ward 3 Alderman David Little, Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A’. Perkins and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn voted in favor of denying the request.

The motion to deny the request was made by Perkins. Starkville Pride applied for a special event request to host the 2018 Pride Parade and have city participation with in-kind services. The item was previously on the consent agenda, but was pulled off by Perkins at the beginning of the meeting.

Attorney Roberta Kaplan of Kaplan & Company, LLP will represent Starkville Pride organizer Bailey McDaniel and the group after being notified by the Campaign For Southern Equality. Kaplan has been involved with litigation issues with respect to LGBTQ rights in Mississippi.

Kaplan tried cases for marriage equality in Mississippi, worked to overturn the state’s ban on gay and lesbian adoption and represented the Campaign for Southern Equality in a constitutional challenge to Mississippi’s HB 1523, which is considered by many to be an anti-LGBT “religious freedom” law.

“It’s pretty clear to us that what the town did here was a blatant and overt violation of the First Amendment,” Kaplan said. “You can’t deny people the right to speak publicly based on the contents of their speech.”

Kaplan said from what she has gathered, the city has denied Starkville Pride of its rights. Moving forward, Kaplan said her team will be evaluating the Facebook videos of the meeting, which is filmed during each Board of Aldermen meeting. She said as of now, she has an “extremely strong case.” Read more via Starkville Daily News