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South Carolina announces pro-equality license plates

Friday, January 20, 2012
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Equality, the Palmetto state’s LGBT education and political advocacy organization, announced Thursday that South Carolina joins Indiana this week as one of three states to claim pro-equality license plates. Maryland was the first in 2008.

Christine Johnson, executive director of South Carolina Equality, said, in an emailed statement, the “South Carolina license plate policy allows a broad expression of diverse opinion and organizational support.”

“We have collaborated with the DMV to create a license plate we hope will appeal not just members of the LGBT community, but their families, friends and allies,” she wrote.

The license plate, which will be available for purchase to the public later this month, was created as a way of “allowing residents of South Carolina to publicly display their support of community, culture and policy that encourages and advocates for equal treatment for all South Carolinians, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” according to Johnson’s e-mail.

The SC Equality specialty plates will cost South Carolina residents one of the lowest specialty license plate fees in the state ($25.00),in addition to regular registration or renewal fees.

SC Equality Board Chair, Dean Pierce said, “South Carolina is now a national leader in securing a pro-equality license plate. We wish LGBT equality supporters in every state could take advantage the public advocacy opportunity our great state has provided to South Carolina Equality”.

Despite the pro-equality plate, an August 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that only 21 percent of South Carolina voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 69 percent thought it should be illegal. A separate question on the same survey found that 48 percent of South Carolina voters supported some legal recognition of same-sex couples.

In 2006, South Carolina voters adopted South Carolina Amendment 1 by 78 percent, that amended the constitution to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in the U.S. state.

SC Equality announced that it is hosting three license plate launching events in Columbia, Charleston and Greenville, Friday, Jan. 20, for the statewide debut of the license plate.

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