Man Sues Georgia Department Of Driver Services For Denying Gay Vanity Plates

Jan 25, 2013
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Apparently in Georgia only “straight guys” get to wear their sexuality on their license plates.

That’s the complaint of an Atlanta man who says the Georgia Department of Driver Services rejected his vanity plate petition because it references homosexuality.

James Cyrus Gilbert is suing the state’s Driver Services department, arguing that its rejection of his desired tags — 4GAYLIB, GAYPWR and GAYGUY — violated his rights, the Associated Press reports.

Gilbert told WVTM that he was inspired to apply for the plates after seeing all his fellow drivers with plates emblazoned with “Mrs. so and so or Mr. so and so or someone’s favorite team of some sort and I thought, ‘that’s kind of cool.'”

As a gay man, Gilbert said he was excited to be able to show pride in his sexuality and to “be a supporter of gay rights, gay and lesbian rights and the community that I live in.”


But pride turned to indignation when he learned that his three selections were on the state’s “banned” list.

“It infuriates me … Why is my question. It’s a very simple question but some people can’t seem to answer it,” Gilbert told Fox 5 during an on-camera interview.

Gilbert’s lawyer Cynthia Counts said she plans to show the wide and arbitrary nature of the plates deemed unacceptable by the state.

“It’s almost kind of like a pick and choose. They’ve allowed certain words and certain sayings, but then something that sounds almost the same exact, but maybe like different number or a different letter, they’ve banned,” Gilbert told the station.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Gilbert and his attorney want the state to reverse its decision and allow the gay plate. They also want to approve a court order that would make state regulations governing the process unconstitutional.

The Journal-Constitution also did its own analysis of the process and found it “sometimes ridiculously ambiguous.”

In 2010, a Vermont man won the right to reference a Bible passage on his license plate. Shawn Byrne had been originally rejected by the state in 2004, but he fought the decision until it was reversed by a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in New York, the AP reported at the time.


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