the BMV loosened their restrictions on Liz Ferris' denial of the BE GODS plate.
Staring down the twin barrels of a First Amendment lawsuit, BMV Commissioner Ron Stiver overturned a previous ruling that denied Ferris a license plate she had held since the late 1990s.
Ferris had had the same plate for eight or nine years when she missed the deadline to renew last fall. "No problem," she thought. "I'll just renew in March." She submitted the $48 fee with her application, only to be denied her plate under a new rule that had gone into effect in December 2007.
So she sued the BMV for violating her First Amendment rights to freedom of expression and religion. Stiver wisely gave in, because while it's a small loss today, they still get to keep their "no religious expressions" rule intact.
"Simply stated," Stiver said in a written statement, "if the BMV approves such pro-deity plates as 'GOD CAN,' the agency has no grounds to reject such plates as 'GOD CANT,' 'GODLESS,' or other more extreme anti-deity plates that have been requested and that most Hoosiers would find offensive."
All too true. But that's what the First Amendment protects in this country. Whether we like it or not, the First Amendment protects the things People don't like to hear so they're allowed to say things Power doesn't like to hear.
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