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News Link • Religion: Non-Believers - Atheists

Woman claims discrimination against atheists in NJ license plate lawsuit

 The defendant in the case, Shannon Morgan, attempted to purchase a vanity plate from the MVC website in November 2013, entering “8THEIST” as her desired personalization, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday. But the website denied her request, stating, “Requested plate text is considered objectionable.”

The complaint says that Morgan then decided to experiment with other, more religious requests.

“Confused about why the Commission considered her proposed plate objectionable, Ms. Morgan entered 'BAPTIST' and discovered that the website did not flag this proposal as ‘objectionable.’ Instead, it displayed a preview of a personalized license plate reading 'BAPTIST' and permitted her to continue the application.”

Morgan then attempted to contact the MVC to inquire as to why the “8THEIST” plate was rejected and to ask for help in obtaining the plate. At this point, MVC employees gave her the runaround, according to the suit. Finally, Morgan sent the agency a certified letter reiterating her desire to obtain the vanity plate and find out why it had been deemed objectionable. She received no response.

Because the state did not find a potential “BAPTIST” plate objectionable, the suit says, Morgan believes that the state therefore favors religion over non-belief, which discriminates against atheists like herself.

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