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Report: DMV apologizes, approves vanity license plate for Greenville woman

(MGN Online photo)

The N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles has apologized and approved a vanity tag for a Greenville woman who was denied earlier this week.

WFMY in Greensboro broke the story about how Amy Bright was denied a specialty license plate to honor her wife. Amy Bright told WFMY-TV in Greensboro she applied for a plate reading “LSBNSNLV,” for “lesbians in love.” The DMV issued a statement saying the agency has the right to deny any license plate it deems “offensive to good taste and decency.”

Wednesday, WFMY reported the DMV apologized and reported DMV Commissioner Torre Jessup has since approved the application.

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A woman says her request for a specialty license plate to honor her wife has been denied by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

Amy Bright told WFMY-TV in Greensboro she applied for a plate reading “LSBNSNLV,” for “lesbians in love.”

The DMV issued a statement saying the agency has the right to deny any license plate it deems “offensive to good taste and decency.”

“I think that’s ridiculous. I’m trying to celebrate the love I have for my wife, so I don’t see how that’s in poor taste,” the Greenville woman said. “How can a celebration of love be in poor taste?”

The agency’s statement to the television station doesn’t address Bright’s request specifically; It says that personalized plates cannot include a message that is “offensive to good taste and decency.”

The statement also says the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that license plates are “government speech,” giving the state agency “broad discretion in refusing to issue a plate with an indecent word or message.” The DMV says it has rejected more than 7,000 license plate requests over the years.

Bright notes that her request has no curse words or hate speech. She said she previously had a plate reading “OUTLSBN,” for “out lesbian.” She thinks the rejection reflects someone’s personal feeling, rather than a governing principle.

Bright said her First Amendment rights are being violated. She’s appealing, and says she’ll sue if the appeal is denied.

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