By David Beasley
ATLANTA, Jan 23 (Reuters) - An Atlanta man is suing the
state of Georgia after his application for a vanity license
plate that he said described his sexual orientation was denied.
State officials turned down the three text choices -
4GAYLIB, GAYPWR and GAYGUY - that James Cyrus Gilbert, 30,
submitted on Jan. 2 for a personalized tag, according to a
lawsuit filed this month against the commissioner of the Georgia
Department of Driver Services.
Georgia offers drivers the opportunity to purchase "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, said the lawsuit, which claims Georgia has
violated his First Amendment right to free speech.
"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 Attorney General Sam Olens declined to comment on
"You could understand curse words," being banned from tags,
said Gilbert's attorney, Cynthia Counts,"but there's just no
rational reason for this."
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