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Indiana GOP lawmakers revive effort to kill gay youth group license plates

Thursday, March 8, 2012
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indiana GOP Lawmakers are rushing to revive a bill that targeted specialty auto license plates before the scheduled end of the legislative session on Friday.

The original bill, according to its sponsor, State Sen. Ed Soliday (R) was to “stop the proliferation of specialty plates,” and to force a public accounting of how the various groups who benefit from the plates spend monies raised from the plate sales.

But after a public outcry — accusing Soliday and other GOP lawmakers of catering to the demands of conservatives angered by one plate that benefited an LGBT youth group — Soliday withdrew the bill last month, and said, “the thing just became political.”

GOP lawmakers now intend to insert the language of Soliday’s bill as an amendment to another bill which deals with motor vehicle issues, reported the Indianapolis Star.

Critics charge that the effort is aimed at killing a recently approved specialty license plate that features the logo of the Indiana Youth Group, an Indianapolis-based group that supports children in the LGBT community. The group’s volunteers travel throughout the state providing support for often-troubled adolescents.

The Legislature’s Democrats are angered by what they call an improper end-run about legislative rules and traditions, aimed at pacifying the state’s conservative voters and Republican constituents enraged LGBT group’s plates.

Mary Byrne, executive director of the Indiana Youth Group, said she was not surprised the issue has new life.

“I really felt like it was dead, but knowing the extent these people will go to to take this license plate away from us, I guess I’m not surprised,” Byrne said.

The specialty plates at issue feature the logo of the Indiana Youth Group, an Indianapolis-based group that supports children in the LGBT community. The group’s volunteers travel throughout the state providing support for often-troubled adolescents.

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