Statement on Choose Life license plate court decision

Published on November 9th, 2011

Statement on court victory ordering New York State to permit Choose Life license plates

A federal court has ruled that New York State must permit the Choose Life license plate as a specialty plate option for New York drivers. Following the decision by the United States District Court, Northern District of New York in the seven-year-old case known as The Children First Foundation v Raymond Martinez and Barbara Fiala, Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of pro-life activities of the New York State Catholic Conference, made the following statement:

“The decision of the federal court in the Choose Life license plates case is a victory for the free speech rights of all New Yorkers. With its custom license plate program, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles created a public forum where it allows the display of messages, slogans, logos, web sites and toll-free telephone numbers for advocacy groups. The state cannot permit free speech for some but not for all. Equal protection under the law means all persons and groups must be treated equally.

“We urge New York State to implement the judge’s decision, lift the current moratorium on custom plates, and allow the Choose Life license plates on the road. These plates will provide much-needed revenue to the state, as proven by the millions of dollars which have been raised for other states as well as for adoption agencies, safe havens and pregnancy centers that receive partial proceeds from annual custom plate fees.”

The New York State Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York state in matters of public policy.

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