A man from Mississippi wanted to put up a billboard sign that condemned homosexuality but the advertising company rejected his request.
Randy Vaughan was prompted to put up a sign against gays following the Starkville mayor's decision to grant a permit for a gay pride parade that will take place on March 24. Vaughan wanted the billboard to show a quote from Isaiah 3:9
"They parade their sin like Sodom," part of the verse from the Bible stated. "They have brought disaster upon themselves."
Vaughan told the press that the Bible verse reminded him of the gay pride parade. He stated, "Just like it was then, it's the same today."
The man paid Lamar Advertising $200 as rental fee for the billboard. He confirmed that the company accepted his payment but then later refused to showcase the Bible verse on the billboard. The company refunded the fee to Vaughan.
Vaughan believes that Lamar Advertising refused his request for fear of offending the gay community in his city. He said it had to protect its business interest since it was a corporation that trades on NASDAQ.
Lamar Advertising, which was established in 1902, reportedly would not comment on the cancellation. The company services several cities in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, LGBTQ supporters planned to hold the first ever Starkville Pride parade and applied for a permit in February. The council initially voted to deny the request but there was a public outcry and the group sued the city. The council then reconsidered and the vote went on a deadlock at 3-3.
Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill broke the tie to vote on the affirmative. The mayor stated that voting in favor of rejecting the parade did not go with the city's "diversity and welcoming attitude."
Bailey McDaniel, the director and founder of the Starkville Pride parade said that the event will be learning experience for aspiring young activists. The group's lawyer also hailed the vote as a victory for equality and freedom of speech.