Pasted below is the actual transcript regarding my visit to the DMV yesterday. My question is: does their displaying messages of their choice fall under "free speech," or discrimination? Even if they aren't directly a government entity, they represent such. Although some might think I'm overreacting by reading my description, you need only experience the wall of stupid license plates in their office to see that I really toned it down in this letter. Here you go folks:
|Sent By: Eleni||Date/Time: 1/19/2006 7:20:10 PM|
I went to register my vehicle today at your Club Boulevard location in Durham. I must note that your staff are very friendly. However, as I waited in line, I grew increasingly disturbed at the messages the vanity plates promoted. I have found Durham to be a wonderfully diverse city, full of contrasting viewpoints, various religious and non-religious persuasions, richly varied lifestyles, and kind people. Unlike this description, the license plates for sale said otherwise and were quite offensive. They preached the following (if you think I'm exaggerating go check it out):
* Misogyny / Objectification of women (references to driving only with blondes, brunettes, or red heds, a playboy bunny, etc)
* Intolerance (a plate about how marriage is between a man and a woman - I would feel pretty uncomfortable as a homosexual having that plate stare at me from behind the counter while I conduct my supposedly neutral registration business)
*Killing (many pro-hunting plates, even one that says to kill more possums - just the type of message we all need - killing?!)
* One religion: Christianity (Jesus is the "only" answer, God this and that, etc.)
Please consider either diversifying your plate selection (I saw nothing from the list you provide here on your website) or not promoting hatred. I don't know to whom I'm writing, so I can either assume you think I'm taking this too seriously or that diversity doesn't matter. But I hope you can understand you cater to a wide audience, and I don't want my money going toward causes that are inconsistent with compassion and acceptance of others. Thank you for your time. Feel free to contact me if I can do something to assist in this matter. I intend to pursue this through our news media if this issue cannot be resolved otherwise.
I have discussed this matter with the Administrator here at DMV that handles branch office matters. The branch agencies are contracted by DMV to handle tag and title transactions. They are not state offices and are not run by state employees. These agencies are privately owned and run. They basically can sell anything in those offices because they are a private business. Example, there are branch agencies that sell make up, furniture, etc. There are other agencies that sell these same type license plates. These privately run agencies are trying to make money any way that they can just like any other privately run operation. DMV has no control over what they are selling in these offices. These plates that they are selling are not endorsed or promoted by the Division of Motor Vehicles in any way. We apologize for any uncomfortable situations that this may cause. Please let me know if I can further assist you in any way.
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