Georgia Sued for Banning 'GAYGUY' Vanity Plate
James Cyrus Gilbert wants to force state to OK plate
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 22, 2013 8:51 AM CST
An example of a Georgia license plate.   (Wikimedia/Jaycarlcooper)

(Newser) – Apparently, Georgia wants people to drive straight. Two free-speech lawyers have filed a lawsuit against the commissioner of the state's Department of Driver Services, after the department rejected a series of vanity plates including "4GAYLIB," "GAYPWR," and "GAYGUY," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "It’s not like I was asking for something that was vulgar or over the top," says James Cyrus Gilbert, who requested the plates. "Denying someone the right to put gay on their tag, that's political."

In addition to nominal damages, the suit seeks to force the state to approve the plates, and to have the entire approval process declared unconstitutional. The suit was filed last week, just hours after the Journal-Constitution published a story about the state's arbitrary plate approval process—a graphic shows, for example, that the state accepted plates for "BEERMAN" and "DRBIBLE" while rejecting "BEERUN" and "BIBLE."

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Showing 3 of 93 comments
AshleyBlazawski
Apr 7, 2013 9:52 PM CDT
In this case, the state of Georgia is clearly violating this man’s right to free speech, by arbitrarily denying his right to have the word “gay” as a part of his license plate. In my Journalism class, it has been taught to us that, the times in which speech can be controlled by the government, are clearly set in past cases as things, such as; speech that presents a clear and present threat, speech that impedes upon the rights of others, and speech that gives military or trade secrets. In this case, none of these reasons for denying him his license plate, are present. Also, it’s not as if this plate is meant in a racist or derogatory manner, but instead it is meant as a plate to support gay rights.
Marelicia
Jan 23, 2013 6:56 AM CST
Do we really need personalized license plates ton our cars to advertise our businesses on the road? I say it is too distracting. Drivers are distracted enough as is. It appears as GAYGUY is nothing more than a business venture. If it looks like a business and acts like a business, then it must be a business. GAY GUY is required to pay for pricey advertisements like every other business. GAYGUY can just have personalized Bumper Stickers printed with Flyers and Business Cards, or GAYGUY can Paint his entire ride with GAYGUY (all over) as other businesses pay and take the entire BUS, or GAYGUY can pay others a monthly fee to advertise "GAYGUY" for him on their rides complete with cell phone numbers, Email addresses & locations, with Facebook and Twitter accounts, too. Problema solved.
lvan
Jan 23, 2013 1:29 AM CST
"Apparently, Georgia wants people to drive straight." Well said Kevin Spak, well said.