A Kentucky resident who was denied a personalized license plate reading "IM GOD" has been awarded just over $150,000 after winning a lawsuit against the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the New York Daily News reports.
Bennie Hart of Kenton County, Kentucky told Fox-19 NOW he previously drove in Ohio with the plate for over a decade, and wanted to keep it when he moved in 2016, but KTC denied his request, saying in a letter to Hart it was "rejected because of vulgarity or obscenity . . . the use of 'IM GOD' is not in good taste and would create the potential of distraction to other drivers and possibly confrontations."
Hart sued with the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, arguing his First Amendment rights had been violated, and a U.S. District Court judge has sided in his favor.
"To allow such plates as 'IM4GOD' and 'LUVGOD' but reject 'IM GOD' belies viewpoint neutrality," the court ruled last November. "Regardless, the court concludes that in this case, (the statute governing such license plates) is an unreasonable and therefore impermissible restriction on Mr. Hart’s First Amendment rights."
Hart was allowed to get his personalized license plate, and was awarded just over $150,000 for legal fees.
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