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Police Shut Down Gay Rights March in Jackson, Mississippi

(photo GetEqual Facebook)

A march for LGBT rights in Jackson, Mississippi was shut down by police yesterday, the Clarion Ledger reports:

The participants had intended to walk along city sidewalks from Cups in Fondren to the Capitol steps, said Fondren March for Equality organizer Bob Gilchrist. However, Sgt. James McGowan said Gilchrist failed to secure liability insurance or any documentation to release the city from liability.

“We tried to work with them as much as we could,” McGowan said.

If the proper permit procedure had been completed, “we would have given them an escort to the Capitol,” he said.

Activist group GetEqual says they were intimidated:

The primary organizer of the march, Bob Gilchrist, had organized the event on Facebook, and was expecting a large crowd for the march. The permit was denied even though event organizers were finalizing details to secure required liability insurance. When informed by police that the permit had been denied, those assembled for the march quickly changed plans under the threat of arrest if they were to proceed.

“Mississippi is notorious for basic human rights violations,” said Bob Gilchrist, the event organizer. ”It’s a shame that, in 2012, the state is still maintaining that reputation.”

Zach Magee, a Mississippi native who helped with the organizing behind the march, said, “I can’t believe the state is still maintaining a campaign of fear and intimidation to oppress state residents. Mississippians organized this march and Mississippians were going to attend this march — if the police can’t maintain safety while also permitting gay Mississippians’ freedom of speech, then I don’t know why they’re in the business of law enforcement.”

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  1. What happened to the Bill of Rights amendment that guarantees the right of the people to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

    If the government can require permits, insurance and anything else, then this right is meaningless since any two-bit dictator governor can make it impossible to protest.

    Posted by: Continuum | Mar 2, 2012 11:42:47 AM

  2. At least they didn't bring out the Water Hoses, Truncheons, and Dogs as they did during the 60's. And yet when the Founding Fathers wrote "the right to assemble and free speech, i am certain that Insurance and permits were not intended....of course "permits" and "Insurance Coverage" are made to inconvenience the organizers not help them...otherwise there would be no impediment to "the right to Assemble"!

    Posted by: aj | Mar 2, 2012 11:47:44 AM

  3. You ARE fabulous, you go boy. Anybody with the cajones to march through the Racism Capital of the United States gets my full-hearted support.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Mar 2, 2012 11:52:39 AM

  4. That guy in the photo is really hot. He's such a nice, refreshing change from the usual male models that are thrust upon gay men every two seconds. If I were in Mississippi, I'd totally ask him out - but we'd leave the sign at home.

    Posted by: Hmmmm | Mar 2, 2012 11:54:30 AM

  5. Alabama's got me so upset.
    Tennessee makes me lose my breath
    And everybody knows about Mississippi GODDAMN!

    Posted by: Steve | Mar 2, 2012 12:17:34 PM

  6. It was on sidewalks. Why would they need a permit? How many people were involved?

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 2, 2012 12:21:21 PM

  7. Like in Russia. Woow so that's the freedom...

    Posted by: Luke | Mar 2, 2012 12:34:08 PM

  8. Gotta love the "convenience" of bureaucracy! Liability insurance is total BS. Did they ask the lunch sit-ins if they had a permit? WTF.

    Posted by: zeddy | Mar 2, 2012 12:38:53 PM

  9. If they planned on walking on the sidewalks why call it a "march" to begin with? Get re-organised, call it a "flash walk" instead of a march or flash mob. Have people wear t-shirts with messages so no signs have to be carried. Start the walk with just a few pairs of people walking together as free citizens of Mississippi, every block or half block have more people follow. Stay on the sidewalks and cross at intersections in marked crosswalks, don't block traffic and don't impede others from going about their business. The city cannot ask you to have permits and insurance if you walk down the street. If several hundred people also walk down the street in the same direction wearing the same t-shirt, oh well! Crazy coincidence ain't it?
    And by the way...those shorts with THAT t-shirt NOT fabulous.

    Posted by: Paul in Charleston | Mar 2, 2012 12:48:06 PM

  10. Why would anyone gay want to live in Mississippi. Move the hell away from there into a city big city where there is acceptance.

    Posted by: Reppin2 | Mar 2, 2012 12:51:02 PM

  11. my heart bursts with love and pride for our brothers and sisters who continue to fight against intolerant bigotry down in Mississippi Goddamn.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 2, 2012 12:53:27 PM

  12. Paul in Charleston, the man is fabulous for what he's DOING, not for what he's wearing.

    You seem to be FULL of ideas for these people in Mississippi. What are you doing in South Carolina; which is every bit as bigoted as Mississippi.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Mar 2, 2012 12:57:17 PM

  13. Ordinances like that have been overturned by many federal courts. Lamda Legal needs to sue.

    Posted by: Charley | Mar 2, 2012 12:59:43 PM

  14. Corporate political money is protected free speech

    Citizen's wanting to peacefully assemble now requires a permit and insurance, both of which, can be denied. We are not that far from St. Petersburg Russia in this land of the free

    Posted by: Joey | Mar 2, 2012 1:03:51 PM

  15. Well, regardless if a person feels an ordinance is right or fair, either fight to have the ordinance overturned or follow the ordinance to the letter. If you don't do one of those two actions the homophobic bigots will JUMP at the chance to stop your event. That's just how it goes, right or WRONG as these outdated ordinances may be.

    Posted by: Don | Mar 2, 2012 2:00:45 PM

  16. Follow the rules people, then everyone gets to see, gets to participate and gets to show off more signs like the wonderful one in the photo..."fabulous by choice"...priceless.

    Posted by: uffda | Mar 2, 2012 2:11:34 PM

  17. OK unpost me. I didn't read carefully enough. Mississippi law enforcement sucks.

    Posted by: uffda | Mar 2, 2012 2:15:26 PM

  18. It is time to occupy Jackson & show the bigots that slave days are over... this incident leaves little wonder why MS is a welfare state... a bunch of ignorant old white bigots...

    Posted by: pgbach | Mar 2, 2012 2:22:49 PM

  19. As a gay man in Jackson, the real travesty is that GetEqual didn't help this kids (because that's what the organizers are...naive, inexperienced kids) get the proper paperwork in place. Instead, they waited and are now using this a chance to falsely cry "homophobia!" when the police were merely doing their job.

    And believe me, I'm not one to take up for local law enforcement.

    The ALCU has said no discrimination happened. Why hasn't GetEqual come out and retracted this inaccurate press release?

    Posted by: vince | Mar 2, 2012 2:47:25 PM

  20. The U.S.A. Where we have rights. As long as we don't try to use them.

    Posted by: mcQuaidLA | Mar 2, 2012 4:04:58 PM

  21. Vince, as a gay man in Jackson, you seem to have a lot to say. I have a question for you. Where the hell were you??? These "kids" (of which I don't appreciate very much) were out there standing up for what they believe in, which is more than we can say about you. Obviously you consider yourself to be so much wiser than we are, so where were you? How dare you sit behind a computer screen and attempt to scrutinize us for our actions! We had a permit, I've got the receipt to prove it. SO- excuse me for being greatly irritated by your comment, but you didn't see how the police treated us. You DON'T know what happened. Quit speaking as someone who has credibility just because you're from Jackson, because it is quite apparent to me that you have none.

    Posted by: Zach | Mar 2, 2012 7:23:31 PM

  22. OK Zach, you cooked him good with your tone of on-the-ground authority. If you're right Vince should step up and say so, or something. There's not enough acknowledgement of misstep on this site. Or maybe submission...

    Posted by: uffda | Mar 2, 2012 7:38:44 PM

  23. *tosses roses to brother zach*

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 2, 2012 7:54:29 PM

  24. You DO NOT need a permit to march, or otherwise express your free speech rights, and rights to assemble in public.

    Posted by: Randy | Mar 2, 2012 8:07:02 PM

  25. Little Kiwi's heart "bursting with love" and "tossing roses" to people? Have I died and gone to the utopian Towleroad in heaven? I'm bookmarking this one!

    Posted by: Mary | Mar 2, 2012 8:15:23 PM

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