Great news from the Hoosier State: an administrative hearing judge has ruled in favor of the Indiana Youth Group (IYG) and ordered that the group's specialty license plate be reinstated.
In January 2012, Indiana became the first state in the nation to issue a license plate designed specifically to raise awareness about LGBT youth issues. However, Republican equality opponents wasted no time circumventing the rules in an effort to ban the plate, finally succeeding in mid-March 2012. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles revoked the IYG plate on the grounds that the organization violated "state law and Indiana Administrative Code" by giving donors low-number plates.
But the judge ruled today that "IYG's actions did not constitute a sale or auction of low digit SGR (Specialty Group Recognition) license plate. Therefore, IYG's actions did not support the immediate termination of the Contract as provided in this section."
What? Republicans distorting the truth in order to attack LGBT youth? I wish I could say I was surprised.
The ruling further states, "The BMV was required to give IYG thirty (30) days notice and the opportunity to correct or cure its breach prior to terminating the Contract."
IYG Executive Director Mary Byrne said of the ruling:
While the politics may not have been on our side through this process, we were always confident that the facts were. We just wanted a fair shake from the state and a chance to sell our plates again. We got that chance from this judgment and we are incredibly grateful that our case was reviewed based on the merits and not a political agenda.
The LGBT youth specialty plates are an important fundraiser for the group: they cost an additional $40 above the cost of a regular license plate, $25 of which goes directly to the Indiana Youth Group for its work providing training for schools and service agencies and promoting tolerance.
IYG is the only nonprofit organization that's exclusively dedicated to serving LGBT and questioning youth in Indianapolis, as well as the only LGBT agency with a full-time staff in the entire state.