Huffpost Politics

New Jersey Woman Sues Over '8THEIST' License Plate

Posted: Updated:

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey woman who says she was denied a license plate referencing atheism filed suit this week, claiming her online application was rejected because it was deemed potentially offensive.

Shannon Morgan, of Maurice Township, said in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that the Motor Vehicle Commission violated her First Amendment rights when its website rejected the plate reading "8THEIST." She said she received a message stating that her vanity plate request was ineligible as it "may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency."

Morgan then filled out the online application using the phrase "BAPTIST" as a test, which the website accepted. Morgan claims in her lawsuit that she sent the agency a letter of complaint by registered mail and made several attempts to contact them by phone, all of which went unanswered.

Messages and emails left for the Motor Vehicle Commission by The Associated Press on Friday were not returned. A recorded message said the offices were closed in observance of Good Friday.

New Jersey previously, after a brief flap, approved a request from an atheist group's president for a license plate that read "ATH1EST," with the number one in place of the letter "i."

Ayesha N. Khan, the legal director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group representing Morgan, said the fact this has happened at least twice in New Jersey shows the problem has not been fixed.

The Motor Vehicle Commission is "disfavoring atheist plates and not fixing the system. Whatever Internet glitch there might be cannot be the explanation this time," Khan said, adding that they were seeking the enactment of new agency regulations that include "objective, viewpoint-neutral criteria for issuing a plate."

Also on HuffPost:

Chris Christie's Greatest Hits
Share this
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

NJ woman's rejected atheist license plate violates First Amendment ...

Poll: Should NJ woman be allowed to have an atheist vanity license ...

Atheist fights in federal court for rejected '8theist' vanity license plate ...

After Being Denied “8THEIST” License Plate, New Jersey Woman is ...

New Jersey Rejects Another Atheist License Plate, But Allows a ...

Atheist Allowed To Show His Godlessness On License Plate After ...

New Jersey allows “Atheist” vanity plate after public outcry over ban ...

NJ woman's rejected atheist license plate violates First Amendment, lawsuit argues

'8theist' license plate nixed by New Jersey officials

Americans United Asks Federal Court To Approve New Jersey Atheist's Custom ...

New Jersey Woman Sues Over Alleged Ban On '8THEIST' License Plate

New Jersey deems woman's '8THEIST' license plate too 'objectionable' to buy

New Jersey Sued For Refusing To Allow '8THEIST' License Plate

NJ Woman Sues to Display “8thiest” on Vanity License Plate – Frivolous Lawsuit ...