The State of Maine is known for many things including lobster, a very temperamental governor, weird people and now profane license plates.
With pressures of mounting lawsuits for violations of freedom of speech by the state, Maine’s lawmakers choose to change a law that stated what could be displayed on a vehicles license plates. Supporters of the change said that it was their right not to be censored.
Maine’s secretary of State Matt Dunlap says that the previous law put Maine on very thin ice for violating the first amendment so it was a top priority for a balance to be achieved.
According to WGME and Secretary Dunlap only plates that:
“incite or promote violence, including hate speech, will be banned”
Fortunately for us, the secretary did have a sense of humor but chose not to cite specific examples of what is and is not allowed under the new law.
However in his interview with WGME, Dunlap did say:
“WGME is a family TV station. And I can’t tell you what those words are because you would lose your FCC license. That’s the stuff on bumper stickers. Prohibiting some of it, not all of it, but some of it off license plates, I don’t think we would stand court scrutiny and that’s why we’ve gone in the direction with the legislature that we have.”
Secretary Dunlap also said that with the new law, the state will reexamine nearly 6,000 rejected vanity plate requests to determine if they meet the new standard.
For Mainers, such as myself, the new law gives them the freedom to express themselves nearly anyway possible on their cars license plates. For those living outside the state, it gives them just another opportunity to point their fingers and laugh that the State of Maine needed a law to regulate license plates.
Being a person from Maine, I can only imagine what people will choose to display. At least we know that Saturday Night Live will probably be making fun of this on their next show.
Image via Flickr