by Steven Ertelt
July 27, 2006
Trenton, NJ (LifeNews.com) — A federal judge in New Jersey has refused to throw out a lawsuit filed by a pro-adoption group that has had problems getting a Choose Life license plate issued there. After having their proposal for a pro-adoption specialty plate rejected because of the slogan "Choose Life," the Children First Foundation (CFF) submitted a new plate design that was rejected too.
The group filed a lawsuit in response and, on Wednesday, a federal judge refused to dismiss the civil rights lawsuit brought against New Jersey officials.
“This is a significant legal victory in our three-year battle to get the “Choose Life” license plate approved in New Jersey,” Dr. Elizabeth Rex, president of the Children First Foundation, told LifeNews.com in a statement.
The Motor Vehicle Commission’s (MVC) Chief Administrator Diane Legreide rejected CFF’s original design in November 2003.
She said that phrases, slogans and/or advocacy messages would no longer be permitted on organizational plates. She made the decision to reject the plates, despite the extensive assistance that the MVC’s Special Plate Unit had given them in designing it.
Rather than break from their copyrighted logo that included the slogan, CFF resubmitted their application with the URL of one of their active websites, www.NJChoose-Life.org.
MVC rejected the use of CFF’s legal alternate name at the bottom of its redesigned plate and the group filed suit.
Rex pointed out that the decision is the third victory in federal court against the state.
"Now that our lawsuit can finally proceed, we eagerly look forward to winning this important battle for free speech and equal treatment under the law in New Jersey," she told LifeNews.com.
“The Children First Foundation is extremely grateful to Jeff Shafer, our lead attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, and our New Jersey attorney, Demetrios Stratis,” Rex added.
Rex said the proceeds from the plates would go to crisis pregnancy centers, maternity homes and nonprofit adoption agencies.
New Jersey has dozens of "organization plates," including ones for veterans and civic organizations.