- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Edmond man says the Oklahoma Tax Commission has denied him a vanity license plate that supports the LGBT community, telling him the phrase was sexual in nature.

John Patrick Keefe II said he wanted a personalized license plate that read “LGBTALY,” which is an abbreviated version of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ally. Keefe, who is a straight, married man, said he received a letter from the commission rejecting his request, which he has appealed.

“I’m holding out for the license plate I deserve to have,” Keefe told The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1HwRjB6 ) “If the tax commission denies it, we are prepared to go to the state Supreme Court. I don’t care how much it costs.”

Paula Ross, a tax commission spokeswoman, told the newspaper requests are approved or denied by the rules and that the decisions aren’t political.

“Obviously, there are human beings involved, which is why they (taxpayers) have the ability to come in and explain,” Ross said.

ACLU of Oklahoma legal director Brady Henderson said the commission’s decision represents “either astounding ignorance, blatant viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment, or both.”

“To pretend that ‘LGBT’ is sexually explicit merely because it refers back to sexual orientation is to insult and trivialize an identity deeply personal to thousands of Oklahomans and attempt to censor advocates for LGBT equality,” he said in a statement.

Nearly 50,000 personalized plates are registered in Oklahoma. Each application is considered by a tax commission staff member and reviewed by a second person. More than 2,100 phrases have been denied - phrases like “LESBIAN,” ”DRUGS,” ”FEDUP” and “OSUOUBOO.”


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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