The city of Hattiesburg held its first gay pride festival at Town Square Park downtown Saturday called “Hattiesburg Unified Southern Fried Pride.
Reverend Jasmine Beach-Farrara said the festival marks a historical moment for the city.
“It’s a day to celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who live in Hattiesburg and are proud to call Hattiesburg home,” Rev. Beach-Farrara said.
The protesters were met with protesters who were across the street waiving Christian and confederate flags.
Pastor Ray Peacock helped organized the Christian rally to stand against the festival. He said it’s time for Christians to take a stand.
“I don’t believe in what they stand for. We’re just out to show that as Christians, we have a purpose too, and we have Christian rights,” Pastor Peacock said.
Marshall Leonard was also there to protest. He said when he found out about the gay pride festival, he drove over five hours to let his voice be heard.
“Christians are being nailed left and right because of the indoctrination of media promoting acceptance of the gay lifestyle,” Leonard added.
Same sex supports also organized a march through downtown. They said although same sex marriage is now legal across the country, they’re still fighting for equal rights.
“I would like for all of us to be assimilated, that we all have the same rights we’re all humans, to be who we are is critically important,” Kathy Garner said.
Mary Joe Peacock said while everyone should have equal rights, she shouldn’t be forced to accept someone else’s beliefs.
“It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you on, the government is still trying to force things down on us,” Peacock said.