Mayor urges aldermen to reconsider LGBT pride parade

Rainbow colors hang in the doorway of the Starkville Community Theatre on the city's Main Street following Tuesday's decision by the Board of Aldermen to block a gay pride parade (Photo by Logan Kirkland)
Logan Kirkland
Staff Writer

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill sent messages to each member of the Starkville Board of Aldermen, asking them to reconsider their decision to deny the Starkville Pride organization's special event request for the city's first LGBT pride parade.

Spruill told the Starkville Daily News based on the anticipated litigation, public frustration and the media frenzy the city has found itself in, she felt it was worthwhile to ask the Board of Aldermen to readdress the previously denied request.

"I asked the board if we could reconsider the vote because of the damage it is doing to Starkville in the eyes of the nation," Spruill said.

Currently, Spruill said she has only received one response saying they would not reconsider the decision. She did not specify which particular alderman responded.

Spruill said the city is looking to not only cater to its current residents, but also to attract a younger demographic for the town.

For Starkville to be successful and attractive for potential residents, she said it is important to have both an inclusive and diverse town environment.

Spruill said there is a plethora of Mississippi State University students and young adults in the city and it is crucial to have them stay in town, especially if the city wants to see economic growth and development.

"This is a different generation and we want them to stay," Spruill said. "I think this is not the message we wanted to give them."

Aldermen approved the motion to deny the request for a LGBT pride parade 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.

During Tuesday night's board meeting, Spruill said she was "extremely disappointed" with the vote of the board.

"I think it sends a message that we are not the inclusive community that I believe us to be," Spruill said Tuesday.

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. 

The Starkville Daily News has reached out to the four aldermen who opposed the gay pride parade, but they could not be reached for comment.