So – Dave Silverman got his godless license plate after all. The New Jersey DMV backed down.
From the press release:
Cranford, NJ—As public backlash was growing, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission reversed its decision on Wednesday, approving American Atheists President David Silverman’s application for custom license plates reading “ATHE1ST.” American Atheists, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is a national non-profit dedicated to fighting discrimination against atheists.
On Monday, Silverman received a rejection email from the Commission concerning his application. It stated, “Reason for denial: Objectionable or Need Clarification.” When Silverman called to offer this clarification, he was told by a Commission official that his proposed plates were “offensive.”
“There was absolutely no reason that this plate should be denied; this is outrageously discriminatory,” said David Silverman. “There is nothing offensive about atheism or atheists. The state of New Jersey had no right to deem this ‘offensive’ as though it was their place to do so.”
Per Commission procedure, Silverman submitted a letter of appeal. Word quickly spread through social media, and traditional media quickly picked up on the story. A PDF of Silverman’s appeal letter, and the rejection email, are available here:
A reporter early Wednesday afternoon contacted Silverman to tell him that his application had been approved, and soon afterward a spokesperson from the Commission called to confirm it.
Once he receives the plates, Silverman plans to bring one with him to American Atheists’ 2014 National Convention in Salt Lake City, where American Atheists members will be able to take pictures with it.
Yeah the state of New Jersey isn’t the authority I would turn to for a decision on what is or isn’t offensive.