Indiana BMV setting itself up for one hell of a civil rights lawsuit

They capriciously revoked a speciality license plate for LGBT youth, finding a loophole about not being able to give plates in exchange for donations, but then refused to say whether they would not apply the same test to other groups who have gotten such plates in the past. From Bilerico:

After [Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles spokesman] Lubsen admitted to the press that this was a common practice overlooked by the BMV, the agency fired him the next day. The plate was suspended the week after Lubsen’s statement. The Indiana 4-H clubs and an environmental group also lost their plates for the same reason. The BMV has not said whether they will look at other groups who’ve done the same thing in the past and decide whether or not they should keep their plates.

Here’s the problem. Because of the BMV’s admission, and because the BMV is now refusing to say whether it plans to apply the same rule to other non-gay plates that broke the rule in the past. You have a classic equal protection problem. Meaning, the state can’t capriciously enforce state laws against some groups and not others. It’s also not enough, I’d argue, that they revoked the plates of the 4H and enviro groups (which I’m sure they thought provided them cover for their anti-gay animus). Those groups also have a cause of action, since state law is being enforced against them while the state refuses to say whether it will enforce it against other groups that have violated the same law.

If the state of Indiana wants to tick off scores of organizations across the state in order to hide their anti-gay animus, I say we help them do it. Make sure every group loses its license. Then see how happy everyone is with the anti-gay state legislators.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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