BMV appeals ruling on vanity plates lawsuit

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

NDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Bureau of Motor Vehicles is appealing a ruling that it violated the First Amendment.

Last summer, our sister station WISH-TV found inconsistencies in how the BMV approved and denied vanity license plate requests. The BMV suspended the program after a lawsuit claimed the decisions infringe on free speech.

The suit was filed by Greenfield Police Corporal Rodney Vawter. Vawter claimed the agency’s decision to revoke his personalized plate, which reads “0INK” next to a Fraternal Order of Police logo, was unconstitutional. Vawter claimed it was speech he found “humorous.”

Last month, a Marion County judge agreed. The program hasn’t resumed.

Monday, the Bureau released a statement saying:

We respectfully disagree with this holding, and will appeal that ruling at the appropriate time. However, the issue of immediate concern is the portion of the court’s order requiring the BMV to reinstate the program, despite the conclusion that it is unconstitutional, under a new regulatory scheme created by the court. The court’s new rules would require the BMV to issue personalized plates that contain messages offensive to one’s race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. We disagree that the statute is unconstitutional, but if that is the ultimate finding of the courts, then the legislature would be the proper avenue to create a new personalized license plate system, not the judiciary. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, off topic, or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s