It's legal -- now make it practical

Organizers of gay pride parade should be mindful of downtown merchants



Legally, it didn't matter what the mayor thought. It doesn't matter what the Augusta Commission thinks, or what we think either.

What matters is what the Constitution says. What matters is that this is a republic that is built on the foundation of the rule of law.

So when a local gay pride group sought a permit for a June 19 parade down Broad Street, it was a done deal.

That's the legality of it. The morality of it we'll leave up to you.

The practicality of it is another thing entirely.

Coming as it does during the middle of the Saturday before Father's Day, we're already hearing Broad Street merchants worry about the effect of the parade on their business. One store owner we talked to, who said he spoke to others as well, said he'll lose thousands of dollars.

That message made its way to Mayor Deke Copenhaver's office, who said that's between the merchants and the parade organizers. Perhaps -- although he might have offered himself as a friendly intermediary. He still can.

We would simply ask organizers, an organization known as Augusta Pride, to get beyond the legality of the matter -- as the city has -- and consider the practicality. Could they move the parade to later in the day? To another weekend?

The city is forced by law to be accommodating. The parade organizers are not.

The only reason they might be is if they want to.