Atlanta man sues state after gay license plate rejected

12:04 PM, Jan 23, 2013   |    comments
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Cyrus Gilbert is gay and he wants everyone who looks at his license plate to know that. But the state won't let him. Now he's suing them to hopefully get them to change their mind.

Gilbert is like many other Georgia drivers whose applications for prestige plates have been rejected. "Mr. Gilbert should be entitled to express himself, his political message, his social message or just who he is and that right's being denied," said his attorney Cynthia Counts.

Gilbert made three different requests on his application with the Georgia Department of Driver Services: "4GAYLIB", "GAYPWR" and "GAYGUY". All three were denied because they were already on a list of more than 10,000 banned tags, the state's "bad tag list". "There are some limits that are proper but none of this makes any sense," Counts said. "It's completely contrary to any first amendment principals."

11 Alive News found the list to be inconsistent in what it would allow. State officials approved SIXPACK but turned down BEER, for instance.

The Georgia Department of Driver Services Rules and Regulations give full discretion to one person, the Commissioner. "The Commissioner or his/her designee shall review all applications for special prestige license plates to determine the propriety of the content requested."

"We hope to achieve that Mr. Gilbert gets his tag and that he can express himself," Counts said. "And I want that not just for him, but for all Georgia citizens."

Jud Seymour, the Director of the Georgia Department of Revenue which oversees the Department of Drivers Services said he could not comment because of the lawsuit that was filed.

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