The Georgia Department of Driver Services is facing a lawsuit from a gay Atlanta man after the state denied his request for vanity plates that said “4GAYLIB”, “GAYPWR” or “GAYGUY”.
The lawsuit was filed by Cyrus Gilbert who claims the state of Georgia has violated his First Amendment right to free speech. The suit is the first against the state’s driver services department over denial of a tag request, reports WXIA.
“I am a gay man,” Gilbert said on Wednesday. “I am a taxpayer. I pay my bills just like everyone else. If I want to have ‘GAYGUY’ or ‘GAYPOWER’ on my license plate, I should be able to do that.”
Georgia offers drivers the opportunity to buy “prestige license plates” for their cars for an extra $35 fee. But the state prohibits any tag that “may adversely affect public safety or is offensive, profane, or defamatory in nature,” according to the license plate application.
All three phrases requested by Gilbert are on the state’s “bad tag” list, according to the lawsuit.
Gilbert’s attorney, Cynthia Counts, said his request is like that of many other Georgia drivers whose applications for prestige plates have been rejected.
“Mr. Gilbert should be entitled to express himself, his political message, his social message or just who he is and that right’s being denied,” Counts said.
Jud Seymour, the Director of the Georgia Department of Revenue, which oversees the Department of Drivers Services told WXIA he could not comment since a lawsuit was filed.
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens also declined to comment on the lawsuit.