Indiana Begins Offering License Plate Benefiting LGBT Youth
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INDIANAPOLIS (CBS) — Indiana is now the second state to offer a license plate promoting benefiting LGBT causes.
The Indianapolis Star reports the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles unveiled the new plates Tuesday. The plates benefit the Indiana Youth Group, which serves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender young people in Indiana.
The plates sell for $40, of which $25 goes directly to the Indiana Youth Group. The group is also putting low-number up for auction, for donations of $500 to $5,000, the Star reported.
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles says the new plates will help fund programs at the Indiana Youth Group activity center, build Gay-Straight Alliances in Indiana high schools, and help communities form their own youth services.
Speaking to the Chicago Phoenix, some Indiana residents were excited about the license plates. Matthew Keilman, 20, of Fort Wayne, told the publication the plates would “make people see we exist.”
But another man, Michael Gonsiorek, 25, of Indianapolis, told the Phoenix that he wouldn’t be buying the plates out of fear that his car might be vandalized. He told the Phoenix that nobody vandalizes a car with “a Jesus fish or some sort of pro-religious sticker, as long as it’s some form of Christianity,” but an LGBT license plate might be more vulnerable.
The Indiana Youth Group lobbied state officials for the license plates unsuccessfully twice last year, but both times, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles initially refused. The bureau doubted the statewide impact of the group, and worried that proceeds for the plates might be used for youth group staff salaries, the Phoenix reported.
After the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit, the youth group applied for the plates a third time and was approved, the Phoenix reported.
Indiana Youth Group director Mary Byrne tells the Star that Indiana follows Maryland among states with license plates to benefit LGBT youth. It is among 10 organizations the Bureau of Motor Vehicles approved for specialty plates for this year, bringing the total number to 104, the newspaper reported.