Close to 3,000 people attended Starkville, Mississippi's first LGBT Pride parade on Saturday.
In February, the city voted 4-3 to deny a permit to the newly-formed Starville Pride's proposed event. Starville Pride responded by filing a federal lawsuit against the city claiming discrimination.
The city later reversed course, approving a permit for the parade and related events during a March meeting. The vote was a tie, with 1 abstention. Mayor Lynn Spruill cast the deciding vote to allow Saturday's event.
Spruill, a vocal supporter of Starville Pride, told the Starville Daily News that she was surprised and delighted by the turnout.
“I never expected to have this many people,” Spruill said. “Somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 people and this would never have happened if we didn’t have the controversy, so I’m almost grateful for the controversy in the sense it became something more than it ever would have been and it became something we can be very proud of, with no issues associated with it.”
According to the 2010 census, Starkville has a population of roughly 23,000.