Copenhaver asks legal advice on gay pride parade

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver is seeking advice from the city Law Department before making a decision on a gay pride parade planned June 19.


Alejandro Wade-Coronado, vice president of Augusta Pride, submitted a request to the city last week for permission to parade on Broad Street between Sixth and 10th streets, and on 10th Street from Broad to Reynolds. Wade-Coronado has a contract with Recreation & Parks to rent the Augusta Common and the Jessye Norman Amphitheater on that date, the latter for a concert with Grammy-winning R&B singer Thelma Houston and Frenchie Davis of American Idol.

The parade needs approval from four offices, according to Traffic Engineering Technician Dennis Ellis. The sheriff's office, the fire department and Recreation & Parks have already signed off, with only the mayor's decision still pending.

"As this is a First Amendment issue," Copenhaver said in an e-mail today, "and in order to make certain the City adheres to the letter of the law in the process, I have requested a legal opinion regarding the permit from our law department. I'm hopeful we will have that opinion today and we will act accordingly in moving forward."

Augusta hasn't had a major gay pride event since the 1990s.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225