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Indiana

Indiana LGBT youth group specialty license plate revoked

Friday, March 16, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles on Friday confirmed that the agency has revoked permission and sale of specialty license plates that benefit the Indiana Youth Group, an LGBT youth advocacy organization

A spokesperson for the bureau also noted that two other Indiana non-profits, the Greenways Foundation and the Indiana 4-H Foundation, also had permission to sell their specialty plates rescinded, and said that all three organizations broke their contracts with the state by offering low-digit plates in exchange for contributions from donors.

The Indiana Youth Group (IYG) came under intense criticism from the state’s Republican lawmakers, who were angered that the LGBT group had won a specialty plate.

Republican efforts, led by Senate President Pro Tempore David Long (R-Fort Wayne), attempted to pass legislation during the last days of this year’s legislative session that would have revoked the youth group’s plate, as well as minimizing what lawmakers saw as unnecessary proliferation of specialty plates in general.

After those attempts failed, Long and other Senators sought to revoke the plates by voiding the Indiana Youth Group contract.

Mary Byrne, executive director of the Indiana Youth Group, said the BMV notified her of the decision Friday, telling her that 20 state senators had sent a letter challenging their plate and that it was being removed from sale, reported the Indianapolis Star.

Byrne said her group was given no chance to appeal, and no opportunity to state their case; she said she did not yet know what avenues the IYG might pursue, and although she did not currently have an attorney, at least two have called offering to assist.

Byrne said they offered low-digit plates as thank you gifts because they IYG saw other organizations, including universities, were doing the same.

The IYG only obtained their plate this year — Indiana’s American Civil Liberties Union had sued the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in September 2010 after the organization’s request for the plate was twice denied, despite meeting the state’s criteria.

The group accused the BMV of lacking clear standards to evaluate plates and violating the First Amendment by using unilateral discretion in ruling on applications.

After the lawsuit was dismissed in January 2011, the IYG applied for the specialty plate a third time, which was approved in December.

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20 more reader comments:

  1. what’s next? passing anti gay propaganda law just like the one they passed in St. Petersburg, Russia? And fine gay people $1,600 for expressing who they are?

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:21pm
  2. -_-

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:22pm
  3. Oh Indiana….

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:22pm
  4. Ugh.

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:23pm
  5. if certain people get elected the will sure try and make it illegal to be gay

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:24pm
  6. wow

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:25pm
  7. Welcome to America.. Land of the “Free”

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:26pm
  8. Guess, gay folks ain’t buying license plates.
    I wouldn’t.

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:26pm
  9. Chelsea: As I like to say, “With Liberty and justice for a select few.”

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:28pm
  10. They revoked 4-H one as well and one other for 3 total after sessions ended. Casualties of hatred. Living here sucks.

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:32pm
  11. Damn Republicans.

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:33pm
  12. I bought mine in time. I’ll be sure to send an extra donation to IYG

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:35pm
  13. Dislike!

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:37pm
  14. As the article points out (if you read it), this was not the only group targeted by the Department of Motor Vehicles. This story reads more like a greedy state entity trying to shut down competition (ie-specialty plate makers and the agencies benefited) than a case of LGBTQ discrimination.

    That being said, there definitely has been a trail of discrimination with regards to this issue in the past. Denying the proposed plate twice and needing to be sued to move forward with it? Revoking it within 3 months of release? C’mon, Indiana, you’re better than that. Don’t make us shame you into proper behavior.

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:40pm
  15. Why? People are so hateful, we all have the right to express ourselves as Madonna my hero says. This is shameful, damn them!!!

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 6:01pm
  16. Thank you, Michele. I read the article too and came to the same conclusion.

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 7:01pm
  17. Why???!?!?!!?!!! I really don’t understand why people can’t just mind their own freaking business. Who the hell was this harming???? WTF

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 7:20pm
  18. What a crap state

    Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 9:42pm
  19. Got to agree with you there! Bill and John

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 12:23am
  20. I’m not remotely surprised! Born there, raised there, and I got out first chance I got! It will absolutely be one of the last states to have any form of equality, that’s for sure!

    Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 12:40am