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Indiana officials have dropped a provision that bans references to religions or deities on personalized license plates after a woman sued when her “BE GODS” personalized license plate was not renewed.
“Christians shouldn’t be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs,” said Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), in a release. “We believe the state’s decision to scrap their problematic policy eliminates that discrimination and respects the First Amendment rights of Ms. Ferris and all Indianans.”
Liz Ferris had had the “BE GODS” license plate for nine years, but when she reapplied for the plate in March 2008, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles refused to renew it because of the reference to God, according to a release by the ADF. Attorneys with the ADF filed a lawsuit challenging the policy in November 2008.
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles decided to settle the case this week and return to an earlier policy that did not prohibit license plates referencing a religion or deity, according to the release.
Ironically, Indiana issues “In God We Trust” license plates.
Critics, including Stanley, accused the state of “speaking out of both sides of its mouth when it sells license plates with the word `God’ but then rejects a citizen’s personalized plate that uses the same word.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana had earlier challenged the “In God We Trust” license plates, but a judge upheld them as constitutional in April 2008, according to FOX News.
By Karin Hamilton
Religion News Service
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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