Indiana agency rejects resident’s ‘atheist’ license plate

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has denied a Goshen man's request to have a personalized plate that read "atheist."

The Elkhart Truth reports the state agency denied Chris Bontrager's request in a letter without citing specific reasoning. The letter states that the agency can deny a personalized plate if it has a connotation offensive to good taste or decency, would be misleading or if the agency considers it improper.

Bontrager says he didn't think there would be an issue with the personalized plate and that he believes the denial was religiously motivated.

The U.S. and Indiana Supreme courts have both sided with the state's ability to decide whether a message on a personalized plate will be approved or denied because it's considered "government speech."

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