Indiana Now Has An LGBT License Plate But It Wasn't EasyS

Indiana, like many states, lets you pick from a variety of specialized license plates that highlight some personal interest of yours, like a noted vampire hunter or your love of driving tiny cars. Indiana Youth Group, an LGBT support organization, wanted to offer a plate as well, but their efforts were repeatedly denied. Until now.

Indiana Youth Group has been an outreach and support organization for gay, lesbian, transgendered, and bi Hoosier-state kids since 1987. And, let's face it, there's still plenty of areas of Indiana (like most states) where growing up non-hetero is a pretty significant challenge. The proceeds from the sales of the plates through Indiana's BMV (B? 'Bureau', instead of 'department', I guess) goes to the organization, just like it does for any of the other organizations on Indiana's large selection of plates.

Some of the plates do support organizations with undeniable political connotations, such as the NRA's plates or, perhaps most divisively, Ducks Unlimited.

The IYG has tried to have their plate as an option since their initial approval in January 2012. Their attempt to get a specialty plate was initially threatened by conservative representative Ed Soliday, who introduced a bill that would have eliminated the specialty plate program altogether, because Ed really wasn't cool with all those sexxy licence plates turning kids gay.

That legislation was abandoned due to timing issues of the legislative session, but the fight wasn't over. On the last day of the 2012 session, 20 legislators signed a letter requesting the BMV suspend sales of the IYG specialty plates, along with two others, stating that the organizations had "sold" some of the low-numbered plates they were supposed to use as give-aways.

That letter was apparently good enough for the BMV, who pulled the plates from their site without any investigation, appeal process, or hearing or anything. The ACLU got involved, and an administrative hearing was scheduled. Eventually, the judge ruled that, according to IYG's website

... the judge ruled that IYG had violated a section of the contract, but had not sold or auctioned the plates and therefore instead of immediate termination, the BMV should have given IYG and the other two organizations 30 days to rectify the problem or it could terminate the plate.

So, barring an appeal by the BMV, Indiana LGBT supporters can now show everyone how they feel on their cars beyond the usual array of stickers.

I'm in favor of everyone being free to do beautifully disgusting things to whomever they get to agree to it, especially in cars, so good for them.

(Sources: GayWheels, Indiana Youth Group, Indiana BMV)