March 24, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY – Following the news that the Oklahoma Tax Commission denied a personalized license plate request from local minister and equal rights advocate John Keefe to display “LGBTALY” because of supposed inappropriate sexual content, the ACLU of Oklahoma has issued the following statement:

The following is attributable to Brady Henderson, ACLU of Oklahoma Legal Director:

The Oklahoma Tax Commission’s decision represents either astounding ignorance, blatant viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment, or both. Regardless, the Tax Commission’s actions are an embarrassment to Oklahoma and if not promptly corrected, risk subjecting the state to costly and completely unnecessary litigation.

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. Whether this was done inadvertently, out of incompetence, or deliberately out of prejudice remains to be seen. The Commission now faces a choice. It can do the right thing and correct its gross error or it can choose to make a court force it to comply with both the United States Constitution and common sense.

The following is attributable to Troy Stevenson, Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director:

It is telling that “LGBTALY” is deemed inappropriate by the Oklahoma Tax Commission, yet “STR8SXI” is an existing license plate, as is “STR8FAN.” In the year 2015, the only people who think being an ally to the LGBT community is somehow sexual, and yet “straight sexy” is not, are overzealous bureaucrats injecting their bias into their role as a government agents. It is our hope that fairness will prevail, and that this decision will be swiftly reversed.