Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Speaking of troublemakers

Elizabeth Solomon has prevailed, at least for the moment, in her battle with the state of Utah to obtain a vanity license plate reading "GAYSROK." You can read that as "gays are OK" or as "gays rock," she says she doesn't care. The link, via Raw Story, is to an item from KUTV of Salt Lake City:
Utah State Tax Commission Administrative Law Judge Jane Phan ruled against the state, saying there was no good reason to prevent the Park City woman from having that plate or another one saying, "GAYRYTS."

"The narrow issue before us is whether a reasonable person would believe the terms 'gays are ok' and 'gay rights' are, themselves, offensive to good taste and decency. It is the conclusion of the commission that a reasonable person would not," Phan wrote.
The state DMV had tried to block the plates based on provisions in state law that place restrictions on their contents. Therefore, the DMV maintained, license plates are not a "public forum."

Judge Phan agreed with that contention but ruled that the restrictions only apply to proposed vanity plates containing the words or subject matter specified by the statute, which Solomon's did not. The state's other contentions, that the proposed plates "relate to sexual functions" (Which part? "Gay?" Or maybe in Utah "Okay" is slang for something kinky.) and "express superiority of gender" (I wonder if they'd object to one that read "STRAIGHT?") were also tossed by Phan.

The DMV actually undermined its own case earlier on when it reversed its initial rejection of Solomon's third proposed plate, GAYWEGO. No matter; Solomon is a good troublemaker:
"I said, 'Oh, no, no, I want all of them,'" she said Wednesday. "You're not getting off this easy."
The state has 30 days to file an appeal.
If and when Solomon is ever allowed to display her gay rights vanity plate, she fully expects her vehicle to be vandalized.

"I'm very prepared to have my car keyed and my tires slashed," she said. "I'll just get it fixed. It won't stop me, I'll buy more cars and get more plates."
Definitely a true American hero.

Footnote: Just in case you missed in while wading through Karl Rove stories, last week
Canada formally became the fourth country in the world to legalize gay marriages on Wednesday after the country's Senate overwhelmingly approved the legislation.

Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain already permit same-sex marriages, and a number of Canadian provinces have been allowing such legal unions for some time.
Brazil has also recognized same-sex marriages under provisions for common-law marriages.

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