Texas Board Rejects Confederate License Plates

AUSTIN (AP) Texas drivers won’t be able to put Confederate license plates on their vehicles after a state board unanimously rejected the proposed design Thursday.

The Department of Motor Vehicles board, appointed by Governor Rick Perry, voted against offering the plates after hearing hours of emotional testimony.

Perry, who is seeking the GOP presidential nomination, has previously defended the historical value of Confederacy symbols but said he opposed the license plates. When asked about the plates last month, he said “we don’t need to be opening old wounds.”

Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which sponsored the proposal, had threatened to file a lawsuit if Texas rejected the plate design, which features the group logo derived from the battle flag flown by southern states during the Civil War. The group has successfully sued to have them issued in three of the nine states where they are currently offered.

Supporters of the proposal, including Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, said the logo is about honoring all soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Still, dozens of opponents, including three members of Congress, urged the board to reject the plates.

“The state of Texas should not sanction what’s become a symbol of hatred and racism,” Democratic state Sen. Rodney Ellis of Houston wrote in a letter read to the board before the vote. “The Confederate battle flag has become a symbol of violence, repression, not heritage.”
Michael Givens, Commander in Chief of Sons of Confederate Veterans, said members of the Tennessee-headquartered group reject racism and instead seek to honor the events of the Civil War from the southern perspective. The organization’s Texas Division hoped to sell the license plate and use the proceeds for efforts such as erecting monuments to Confederate war heroes.

“Unfortunately your governor has said some words that have been rather hurtful. We’re not the people that caused those wounds,” Givens said ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

The floor of the Texas Capitol’s rotunda still bears the seal of the Confederacy, and statues on the grounds memorialize Robert E. Lee and Confederate soldiers. But civil rights organizations consider the battle flag the most objectionable symbol.

Nine other states have approved similar license plates, but Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina only did so after the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed successful lawsuits, Givens said. A legal battle over a plate for the group in Florida continues.

Perry’s opposition to the plates in Texas is a departure from his ultimately unsuccessful opposition to NAACP-led efforts to remove two plaques with Confederate symbols from the Texas Supreme Court building 11 years ago.

Then-lieutenant governor Perry wrote to the Sons of Confederate Veterans in a March 2000 letter obtained by The Associated Press that, “although this is an emotional issue, I want you to know that I oppose efforts to remove Confederate monuments, plaques, and memorials from public property.”

Texas has approved 276 specialty plates, including a series promoting the American Quarter Horse Association and one celebrating the red grapefruit as the state fruit. It turned down a Sons of Confederate Veterans request for a specialty plate in December 2009, because criteria at the time called for denying plates considered political or controversial in nature.

The criteria has changed since the Department of Motor Vehicles board in its current form was created two years ago. The board has since approved all 89 specialty designs submitted.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. darrell says:

    this is the most racist decision made in this country in 50 years, has no merit, undermines historical fact and proves that racism is alive in this country at levels not seen since prior to the civil rights movement. the board should be ashamed of itself for caving in to racist groups like the NAACP who’s leadership is corrupt, racist and the largest reason why the african american community in this country hasnt done better by itself over the years. this is a pathetic and cowardly decision.

    1. MrDoRight says:

      darrell you’re the Full Fledged Racist Fool! I bet you have a Poster of Hitler in your Trailer as well.

  2. Say What? says:

    Way to Cave Texas..Should we tell Six flags over Teaxs it will only be 5 now..Ha,Ha,…Lets just burn all the history books and start over. This time we will be politically correct

  3. Alan Gregory says:

    Bunch of politically correct infected morons. Plus, Rick Perry is a turncoat.

  4. Progress Texas says:

    Thanks to the over 30,000 people who signed the petition and stopped the Texas DMV from endorsing the confederate flag on our license plates.

    To find out more and join Progress Texas click the link below:

    http://bit.ly/syctUQ

    1. darrell says:

      thanks to 30,000 racist ignorant fools.

  5. Jovina says:

    The Confederacy LOST. This is the United States of America. Texas is a state. The Confederacy and the Ku Klux Klan are a disgrace to this country. Why don’t you go back to Mexico, because that is where Texas came from. Texas doesn’t teach American history or science. They teach Texas fantasy. Don’t embarass Texas any further.

    1. darrell says:

      your just plain ignorant of history.

  6. YRofTexas says:

    darrell is right. The re-writing of history is not going to change the facts. Texas was a sovereign country at one time…anyone remember that? Did you know that Texas and the United States were merged by a treaty, and not by annexation? That is why the US and Texas flags can be flown Equally and Evenly on the mast, and no other state can do that.
    This is why the history of Texas is especially unique. Racist persons continue to push the Politically Correct agenda; it just isn’t going to change the facts. No doubt, many non-Texans signed the petition, and it would be a good idea to audit those names that signed. Wonder how many would be voided?

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