We knew this day was coming. The controversies over last year’s Christmas parades are now today’s lawsuits. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, who for years have marched with Confederate flags in Christmas parades all over the South without incident, are beginning a series of court battles over first amendment free speech rights violated last Christmas when they were told to keep the flags out of the Christmas parades.
The city of Natchitoches and its Mayor Lee Posey have been sued by Sons of Confederate Veterans because they were barred from displaying the flag last Christmas.
Thomas Taylor, the division’s former commander, said in a telephone interview that its flag-carrying members marched and rode floats in the parade for nearly two decades without causing any disruptions.
“We have never had a problem before,” said Taylor, a Sterlington resident who said the Louisiana division has about 1,250 members. “The crowd loves us, but this politically correct stuff raised its ugly head.”
The lawsuit cites a Nov. 2, 2015, letter from Posey to the parade’s organizers in which the mayor said allowing the Confederate flag to be displayed by marchers could cause “substantial disruption or interference with the parade” and could be seen as an “endorsement of a symbol that is viewed as racially inflammatory.”
Mayor Posey knew the incident would be controversial. At the time he said “To be clear, the city of Natchitoches has not banned the Confederate flag from public display. The only thing we have banned is the flag being marched in the Christmas Festival parade.”
That, according to the lawsuit, is unconstitutional. And the Son’s of Confederate Veterans are right — and should win.