SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The City of Ocean Springs has responded to a lawsuit against the city surrounding the state flag debate, calling it "completely frivolous."
On May 1, Ocean Springs filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that aims to ban the city from flying the flag publicly.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue that the city's display of the "racially demeaning and hostile state flag" violates the Fair Housing Act by expressing "a preference for white residents and a corresponding discouragement, and suppression, of African-American residents."
In the motion, the city cites the resolution the passed in November that made it mandatory for the flag be flown above public buildings, regardless of design. It also notes that the plaintiffs do not have the standing to sue under the Fair Housing Act.
On April 4, the lawsuit was submitted by Mississippi Rising Coalition President Lea Campbell, Jackson County NAACP President Curley Clark, and Ronald Vincent, a longtime Ocean Springs resident.
The state flag of Mississippi, which features the Confederate battle emblem, has spurred some controversy on the Gulf Coast. During the summer of 2017, newly elected Ocean Springs Mayor Shea Dobson rose the flag over city hall, where it had not been flown for several years under the previous administration. Since then, various groups for and against the flag have fought to make their points known.
Read the City of Ocean Springs motion below: