Filed under: Government/Legal
James Cyrus Gilbert III applied to Georgia Department of Driver Services for three vanity plates for his car: 4GAYLIB, GAYPWR and GAYGUY. All three were rejected, so now Gilbert is suing the department on the grounds that his free speech is being unfairly denied. The denial itself isn’t the sole issue, what is also being challenged is the arbitrariness of how the state decides what plates will be approved or not.
Georgia law forbids “profanity, language the community considers obscene or language that ridicules a person, group, or religious belief or being, race or ethnicity” on vanity plates. The question Gilbert’s attorneys want answered is why HATERS, BLKBUTI and JESUS4U were cleared, but Gilbert’s choices are on a list of more than 10,000 banned plates.
Even the state has admitted that its application of the law is inconsistent and that “viewpoint neutrality… is impossible,” and outside legal observers have said that it looks like it will be hard for the state to win the case. Gilbert’s lawyers want his plate choices approved and the law defining what is acceptable to be declared unconstitutional.
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