“ATHE1ST” License Plate Request Rejected in Indiana; Now the ACLU May Get Involved

Mar 8, 2017

By Hemant Mehta

The ACLU may pursue litigation against the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles after they rejected Chris Bontrager‘s request for an “ATHE1ST” license plate.

Chris told me he wanted to get the “ATHEIST” plate (with an “I”), but the online system said it was unavailable. When he substituted the number “1” for the “I,” however, everything seemed fine. He paid the cost and waited for his new plates.

They never came. Instead, the BMV sent him a letter saying he needed to try again. While they didn’t give him a specific explanation, the letter explained that the only reasons a personalized plate could be rejected were being “offensive to good taste or decency,” misleading, or “improper.”

None of those reasons makes any sense when considering a license plate that merely says the A-word.

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