Gay parade permit sparks major debate in Mississippi
STARKVILLE, Miss. - At first, the plan to hold a gay-pride parade here didn't seem like such a big deal. Such festivals aren't that unusual even in the traditionally conservative Deep South, and Starkville, "Mississippi's College Town" made a name for itself as the first community in the state to pass a resolution denouncing discrimination against people for sexual orientation.
But when organizers applied for a permit, they ran into a roadblock: A majority of Starkville's aldermen voted it down, transforming what had been envisioned as a relatively small-scale event into a major constitutional confrontation over free speech and equal rights.