Delegate Support for an LGBT License Plate Could be Easier Than We Think
Equality Virginia (EV) is hoping Virginia will join the several states which already offer specialty LGBT equality license plates including its neighbor Maryland.
450 prepaid applications are needed by the DMV prior to a custom license plate to start production and EV is collecting the information of those interested.
Jo Gehlbach is field coordinator for EV and has been working on marketing the issue.
“We’ve had a great response from the LGBT community and its allies,” Gehlbach said. “The list of people who would like a plate continues to grow rapidly.”
Upon receiving the 450 prepaid applications the General Assembly has to authorize the plate therefore support of delegates and senators is essential to the process.
Virginia passed a specialty plate supporting the Washington Nationals this past session and offers over 200 specialty plates to promote various causes or interests.
In 2011, Del. John O’Bannon, (R)- Richmond, introduced the “Don’t Tread on Me” plate in support for the Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Inc., and the James River Park System.
The motto comes from the Gadsden Flag designed during the American Revolution. The Gadsden Flag which bears a rattlesnake and the words “DON’T TREAD ON ME,” which was once a symbol of the patriotism of the original 13 colonies, was adopted in 2009 as a symbol for the American Tea Party Movement.
“Well a set of folks who were interested in it came to me and they got the required signatures so we went ahead and asked just like all the other specialty plates do,” O’Bannon said.
The “Don’t Tread on Me” plate had over 20 patrons on the house side and was passed later during the 2011 session.
Del. O’Bannon has also introduced specialty plates for other issues such as the Virginia quilter’s plate in 2005, the beekeeper’s plate in 2002 and the “Peace Begins at Home” plate this past session.
According to Virginia Legislative Information System the “Peace Begins at Home” plate which was passed through the senate side was “to support the programs of the Domestic Violence Action Alliance for the prevention of sexual and domestic violence in Virginia.”
“I’m certainly glad we got that,” said O’Bannon who also says specialty plates are a great tool for expression.
“It’s a way for folks to personalize their cars if they feel strongly about an organization or a cause then they can show that,” O’Bannon said. “You can watch people go up and down the road, you know a tremendous number of people support their colleges or universities.
O’Bannon also joked about the popularity of the “Parrot Head” license plate which was introduced in 2002 and has been circulating with Jimmy Buffet fans ever since.
O’Bannon says he doesn’t see why the proposed Equality Virginia plate wouldn’t be successful in the General Assembly this upcoming session.
“I’d be glad to look at it,” O’Bannon said. “I’d support it if I thought it was reasonable. I don’t think I’ve ever voted against a specialty license plate.”
The proposed license plate requires 450 prepaid applications before it could move on to the next step and being passed through the state government. Equality Virginia is asking all those interested in obtaining a custom license plate to sign up on their site equalityvirginia.org.
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