Atlanta Man Wins Settlement Over Vanity License Plate, GAYPWR | WABE 90.1 FM

Atlanta Man Wins Settlement Over Vanity License Plate, GAYPWR

Jun 7, 2013

Sample Georgia License Plate.
Credit Georgia Department of Revenue

An Atlanta man who filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Driver Services for rejecting his request for a personal license plate had his case settled Wednesday.

James Cyrus Gilbert submitted an application requesting one of three options for his new license plate: GAYPWR, GAYGUY and 4GAYLIB.

The Georgia Department of Revenue, which manages vanity license plates, denied all three requests.  He and his attorneys filed a lawsuit against the department in January.

The state violated his first amendment rights, said Cynthia Counts, one of the attorneys who represented Gilbert.

“To restrict somebody from giving a social message, a political message in such an arbitrary and capricious method was patently unconstitutional,” Counts said.

As a result of the lawsuit, the revenue department this week temporarily changed the process for approving vanity tags. The tags Gilbert applied for are now okay under the new rules.

The new regulation is meant to set clearer guidelines, as well as give people a second chance to get their desired license plates. 

“A person who has been denied a tag has the right to appeal a denial and that denial would be reviewed,” said Sean Casey, assistant deputy commissioner at the Georgia Department of Revenue.

Under the new regulations, the state is also required to keep a list of tags that would be banned, and review the list every year, he said.

Meanwhile, Gilbert will be getting his new license plate in a few weeks. His attorney says that out of the three options, he chose GAYPWR.