Tags aren’t a license to offend, Oklahoma agency says

BY NOLAN CLAY Modified: April 26, 2010 at 11:24 am •  Published: April 26, 2010
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IM GAY was not OK. Also not were SEXYBRD, V8BALL and NOFTCHX.

Thousands of Oklahoma vehicle owners pay a little extra each year for personalized license plates, but some don’t get what they want.


Employees at the Oklahoma Tax Commission in 2009 rejected IM GAY and others as too offensive to the general public, records show.

"The state of Oklahoma has a right to control what goes on its license plates,” a Tax Commission attorney said last year.

"License plates — even personalized license plates — are not the private billboard for the person to whom they are issued. They are still a state license plate. The state needs to stay above the fray.”

The policy briefly faced a legal challenge this year.

A gay activist, Keith Kimmel, in February sued the state in Oklahoma County District Court over the IM GAY denial. He alleged discrimination and a free speech violation.

Kimmel later dismissed his Oklahoma County lawsuit and said he would file it instead in federal court. He died in March before he could.

A vehicle owner wanting a personalized tag has severe restrictions already — only seven spaces are available.

The only possible punctuation is a dash. A personalized tag costs $22 the first year and $21 a year to renew it.

Tax Commission employees watch for curse words, sexual connotations, racial and ethnic slurs, and drug or alcohol references.

The owner who wanted SEXYBRD also tried for SXYBIRD, SXY BRD and SXY-BRD.



Rejected requests
Here are other examples of license plate requests rejected by the Tax Commission:


• HOOKR


• HRDKOR


• STRIPTZ


• BLKSTUD


• ACID


• COKE


• HURTME


• GODLESS

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