After a 10-year battle to add the "Choose Life" license plate to the list of specialty options in the Empire State, New Yorkers may finally get the chance to wear their pro-adoption, pro-life message on their cars. (The plates will raise money for adoption groups.)
A federal court has ruled that New York State must permit the plates. It remains to be seen if the state will implement the judge's decision, however. The Department of Motor Vehicles has objected to the plates as "patently offensive" to a large portion of the population and said they could lead to road rage. Similar plates are available in many states across the country.
Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of pro-life activities of the New York State Catholic Conference, issued the following statement:
“The decision of the federal court in the Choose Life license plates case is a victory for the free speech rights of all New Yorkers. With its custom license plate program, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles created a public forum where it allows the display of messages, slogans, logos, web sites and toll-free telephone numbers for advocacy groups. The state cannot permit free speech for some but not for all. Equal protection under the law means all persons and groups must be treated equally.
“We urge New York State to implement the judge’s decision, lift the current moratorium on custom plates, and allow the Choose Life license plates on the road. These plates will provide much-needed revenue to the state, as proven by the millions of dollars which have been raised for other states as well as for adoption agencies, safe havens and pregnancy centers that receive partial proceeds from annual custom plate fees.”
Click HERE to watch an in-depth TV interview that gives the background and next steps of the New York license plate controversy.