Thursday, July 28, 2005

Making a stand with a license plate - at the state's discretion

A judge in Utah has ruled that the state cannot block a woman from having a license plate on her car that says "GAYSROK". Administrative law judge, Jane Phan stated that the state has no legitimate reason to prevent Elizabeth Solomon from having the plate which could be intepretted as "gays are OK" or "gays rock" or one that reads "GAYRYTS".
“The narrow issue before us is whether a reasonable person would believe the terms ‘gays are OK’ and ‘gay rights’ are, themselves, offensive to good taste and decency. It is the conclusion of the commission that a reasonable person would not,” Phan wrote.
The state has 30 days to appeal the July 19 decision and is in discussions to determine if they will do so according to Barry Conover, Deputy Director of the state Tax Commission which overseas the bureau of motor vehicles
“It kind of opens up the door for all types of people who want to make a license plate a public forum, for every initiative,” he said.
It doesn't appear as though Utah is one of the many states that offer special group plates for anti-abortion groups or even to support "traditional marriage", but they do offer a wide variety of special group plates and allow for personalized plates (I searched to see if "PROLIFE" was available and received a message that it was not, which I take to mean someone probably has this plate). While I would guess that a gay rights plate may make someone's car a potential target in a state like Utah, the woman is not asking for the state to support a new gay rights support plate, just for 1 vanity plate that contains no obscenities (or something that can logically be implied to be obscene) and nothing that endorses/incites some negative action be taken against others. If the state does not want to allow people to use their license plates as a form of expression (political or otherwise) they should abandon the use of personalized "vanity" and special group plates altogether.

Tags:; ; ;

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: