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Mississippi town denies licence to gay bar

Bar owner sues town council for rejecting her business based on prejudice

Shannon, Mississippi, now being sued for denying a gay bar a licence, has a welcome sign on its website. Credit: townofshannon.org

A prospective bar owner is suing the town of Shannon, Mississippi, for refusing to issue a business licence to a gay bar, The Huffington Post reports.

Pat Newton ran a bar in the town in the 1990s but moved away. When she returned to reopen the bar, she says, city officials blocked her from receiving a business licence because her bar would serve a gay clientele.

Newton, backed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a suit on Oct 1 accusing the town’s mayor and aldermen of rejecting her business based on prejudice.

"By choosing to bring a claim on [Newton’s] behalf that asserts that her business is something that is expressive, we hope to affirm that there are certain sorts of things that LGBT people do for each other that have meaning beyond simply the running of a business," said Newton’s lawyer, David Dinielli.