New Georgia License Plate Features Confederate Flag
Georgia civil rights advocates are up in arms over a new specialty license plate that boldly features the Confederate flag. As has been the case for decades, this latest move by the state has fueled an ongoing debate between those who believe the flag is a symbol of southern heritage and those who believe the flag represents racism and oppression.
Maynard Eaton, the spokesperson for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference told media that “To display this is reprehensible. We don’t have license plates saying ‘Black Power.'”
On the other side, Ray McBerry, the spokesperson for the Georgia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the group that lobbied for the state to issue the new plates, said “We believe that everyone has the right to preserve their heritage. Southerners have as much right to be proud of their heritage as anybody else.”
Georgia had previously approved another specialty license plate that featured a smaller Confederate flag but the new one boldly features the stars and bars across the entire plate.
Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal was quick to distance himself from the issue, saying “I had no information in advance about it.”
Georgia’s Department of Revenue’s Motor Vehicle Division is charged with approving proposed specialty license plates but had no comment on what criteria they use except to say that proposed designs can’t violate copyright laws.
North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi have also approved specialty license plates that feature the Confederate flag while Texas has rejected the design because it may offend many residents. The Sons of Confederate Veterans have since sued the Texas motor vehicle agency and the case is currently pending.
People can also request to purchase Confederate flag plates in Maryland, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. In Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina, the Confederate flag has the same protection as the U.S. flag, meaning it cannot be burned or desecrated. Although those laws remain on the books, the Supreme Court has ruled that laws that ban the desecration of any flag are unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable.