FFRF challenges Kentucky’s rejection of license plate


The Freedom From Religion Foundation is objecting to Kentucky’s censorship of a personalized license plate.

FFRF contacted the state of Kentucky on behalf of state resident Ben Hart after his application for a personalized license plate was rejected. Hart had the “IM GOD” license plate in Ohio, from where he recently moved to Kentucky.

FFRF asserts that the reasons cited for the Kentucky DMV rejection of “IM GOD” do not hold water. There is no legal precedent for the refusal, FFRF contends. The state has thus far defended the rejection on the basis that it doesn’t meet a “standard of good taste and decency.” 

“The only court to have recently addressed the personalized plate issue has held that personalized plates are private speech,” FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott writes to Todd Shipp at the Kentucky Office of Legal Services. “And the ‘good taste and decency’ restriction is plainly unconstitutional.” 

The state’s other reasoning for turning down Hart doesn’t pass muster, too. The Kentucky Department of Transportation is saying that the that the “IM GOD” plate “would create the potential of distractions to other drivers and possibly confrontations.” But the state can’t impose a heckler’s veto against speech with which some may disagree, FFRF says.

FFRF urges the state of Kentucky to approve the “IM GOD” license plate, since it is clearly unconstitutional not to do so and would subject the state to a potential lawsuit and legal liability.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nontheist organization with 23,700 members nationwide, including almost 200 in Kentucky.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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