US man banned from having ‘I’m gay’ numberplate
An Oklahoma student is suing state officials for barring him from getting a personalised car numberplate reading “IM GAY”.
Keith Kimmel, of the Oklahoma City Community College, says his First Amendment rights have been violated and that he will appeal if a judge rules against him.
He was barred from having the numberplate due to an internal rule at the Oklahoma Tax Commission which bars numbers or words which “may be offensive to the general population”.
But Mr Kimmel told the Oklahoman: “I want to tell people who I am and what I am. I’m proud of it. I’m openly gay. I’m not hiding.
“What better way to tell everybody than to put it on the back of a car?”
He also argued that the Tax Commission had allowed numberplates reading “STR8FAN” and “STR8SXI”.
Mr Kimmel said: “They defended using ‘straight sexy.’ … They didn’t think that one was inappropriate but yet ‘I’m gay’ is. I think it’s kind of a double standard.”
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His attorney, Brittany Novotny, has called it “viewpoint discrimination”.
Last October, the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) had to withdraw two personalised numberplates from an auction after gay rights charity Stonewall said they were offensive.
The numberplates, which read ‘F4 GOT’ and ‘D1 KES’, were among 1,600 numberplates which were to be auctioned.
Both plates had a reserve of £900 each, while the DVLA was expected to make £3.5 million from the total sales.
Stonewall argued that the plates looked like the homophobic terms ‘faggot’ and ‘dyke’ and said the DVLA should not be able to profit from them.
For a video of Mr Kimmel explaining his lawsuit, see below.
More: Americas, Brittany, car, driver and vehicle licensing agency, DVLA, first amendment rights, Gay, Keith Kimmel, KES, Mr Kimmel, numberplate, Oklahoma, oklahoma tax commission, reading, tax, UK, vehicle licensing agency