MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — Murfreesboro’s ‘BoroPride’ was able to take place Saturday after a federal judge temporarily blocked a so-called decency ordinance.
An estimated 2,000 people showed up to the Miller Coliseum on Middle Tennessee State University’s campus, where the event was hosted for the first time since its inception in 2016.
“It really gives a sense of community and with all of the legislation that’s been passed this year, you can pass it, but we’re still here,” Murfreesboro resident Emily Davis said.
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Organizers said the event almost didn’t happen due to a new city ordinance, putting restrictions on “indecent behavior.” The Tennessee Equality Project and BoroPride organizers challenged the ordinance with the help of the ACLU, calling language within the ordinance “vague.”
“Basically where we are, a judge has said that the city ordinance cannot be enforced right now. So we should not face any kind of police action for holding this event,” Tennessee Equality Project Executive Director Chris Sanders said.
However, Sanders said where the event can take place is still an ongoing battle.
“What will be also decided in court eventually is whether we will be able to use city facilities again. Right now, we are being barred… So it’s been very painful to have to face not being able to hold it on city property. We want to be able to have the choice, but this is a great venue for us as you can see,” Sanders said, gesturing to large crowds gathered Saturday afternoon.
The City of Murfreesboro shared the following statement with News 2:
“The parties agreed, and the Judge accepted an agreement temporarily suspending enforcement of an ordinance designed to specify certain civil penalties against indecency in public spaces and to protect children from indecent conduct. However, other existing state statutes and City ordinances and penalties regarding such conduct remain applicable.”
Some at Saturday’s event told News 2 they felt it was important for Murfreesboro to continue to host its own pride event.
“With this almost not happening this year, it’s important to have that sense of community with everybody in town to show that the queer population within Murfreesboro is still here and we still want to be seen and we still want to have our own pride,” Murfreesboro resident Blake Holliday said.
Sanders said BoroPride representatives would continue to fight restrictions in court.
“We have to say what we stand for, what we’re celebrating, and that’s our community, and we are worth celebrating,” Sanders said.