The Westchester County-based Children First Foundation is close to winning a campaign to get New York to allow custom license plates depicting two smiling children and a “Choose Life” slogan to be allowed in the state.
Back in 2004, the state ruled against the license plates, saying that they might cause public uproar and endanger the safety of drivers on the road. On Tuesday, however, a Syracuse judge ruled against the moratorium, citing that it goes against free speech and the First Amendment.
Judge Neal McCurn gave the state 30 days to appeal, but Opposing Views shared that any attempt to overturn the ruling will likely be unsuccessful. If it holds, New York drivers will soon be able to display their support for the pro-life movement through their license plates.
The judge also described the state’s argument as “unreasonable,” and said that the pro-life organization is a non-profit group who has filed a proper application for the customized plates.
The president of the Children First Foundation, Elizabeth Rex, urged the state to drop any attempts to appeal and stand behind people’s freedom of speech.
"Now is the time for him to do what is right and protect freedom of speech for all New Yorkers,” said the president. “It's time to protect equal treatment under the law."
Other custom plates that were being held back included a 9/11-remembrance plate, and a slogan for the “Cure Childhood Cancer” campaign. Although plates with social messages have largely been banned in New York, other organizations have been allowed to come out with custom designs – including the New York State United Teachers Union and the American Bowling Congress.
Twenty-Eight states are already allowed to use the “Choose Life” plates, and the Foundation is campaigning hard for New Jersey and New York to join the list.
Attorney Jeffrey Shafer from The Alliance Defense Fund, who is representing the pro-life organization, said that First Amendment rights were at stake here, and he was confident that the ruling would stand and allow even more states to adopt the plates.