Would You Buy a LGBT License Plate?
With over 200 designs to chose from, and relatively low prices, personalized license plates have long been the popular choice for Virginia drivers. After the recent addition of the “Don’t Tread on Me” Tea Party symbol to the VA official license plate catalog, one local resident Andrea L. Koltz asked herself why there are no LGBTQ friendly license plates.
Kolts begn her research and found if she finds 449 others who share her sentiment, Virginia could be the fourth state in the nation to approve plates for a group advocating gay rights.
“You can drive all over Virginia and see the [Tea Party] tags…in which people are supporting ideals,” said Koltz. “Why shouldn’t [LGBTQ residents] also, as a group and as a family.”
According to NBC news, “out of the 9.3 million personalized plates on the roads of America, about one in 10 are in Virginia.” Specialty designs can cost as low at $10 annually, compared to Illinois, which has the largest amount of plates, at the cost of $78. License plates are one of the easiest ways to show one’s support for a cause, and Koltz says gay rights should be included.
Virginia’s many many license plates supporting many different causes
The first step towards getting a special interest plate approved would be finding a sponsor or gay advocacy group. Next, the sponsor would have to receive 450 pre-paid applications for license plates and send them to the Virginia General Assembly for approval. Koltz feels the design of the license plate should be for anyone who supports gay rights.
“I don’t want [the plate] to say, ‘Hey, I’m gay’ but it should also be for a parent that can say ‘Hey my child is gay and this is what I support,” said Koltz.
According to the Huffington Post, Maryland was the first state to offer gay advocacy plates, with approval given to Equality Maryland in 2008. Indiana was the second state to offer LGBTQ friendly license plates, but the Bureau of Motor Vehicles banned the design in 2012 after the lobbying of state legislators.
The Indiana Youth group, sponsor of the license plate, appealed the ban and got the plate returned in May after a judge ruled in their favor. South Carolina, was the third state to approve LGBTQ friendly plates, due to a “relatively open policy” as stated by the Huffington Post.
As a lesbian and mother of children in the LGBTQ community, Koltz says the struggle for gay advocacy plates is just another part of the greater fight for equality.
“Equal rights is one of the things most important to the LGBTQ community,” said Koltz. “We are all a part of a family…and if we don’t support each other, then who will.”
Maya Earls and is a second-year journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was born in Los Angeles, and moved to Richmond in 2000. Her first journalism experience was managing social media for the Rock4Life benefit concert.She enjoys exploring Richmond on her bike and finding good views of the river. Her favorite past-time is watching people dance in their cars from her apartment window.
On Thursday, Diversity Richmond, in partnership with WRIR, will host its third radio show, this time on LGBT sexuality and in front of a live audience. The organization’s new monthly series that broadcasts on 97.3 FM addresses LGBT issues. Diversity Richmond’s first show launched two months ago and featured SAGE Central Virginia, a program Diversity [...]October 6, 2015
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