ACLU files lawsuit, wants Indiana Youth Group plate reinstated

IYG supports gay youth in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS - The fight over the specialty license plate for a group that supports gay youth in Indiana is headed to federal court.

Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union want a judge to force the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to sell the plate once again.

The plates went on sale in 2012, but the BMV suspended the plates three months later.

800 plates were issued, but BMV leaders questioned the way they were sold.

"The concern is that an organization that serves gay and lesbian kids has a plate," said Indiana Youth Group Executive Director Mary Byrne.

An administrative judge ruled that the IYG violated a contract by assigning low-digit plates to donors who gave larger amounts of money. 

The judge said the BMV must allow IYG to sell the plates again by June 27, a decision the BMV officials want clarified

BMV Commissioner Scott Waddell has issued an order of remand, and BMV spokesman John Gillespie said it’s not an appeal, rather a request, to make sure IYG was abiding by its contract.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit, asking the federal court to help ensure the decision-maker in this case is neutral and impartial.

"Here the commissioner, in 2012, said I am revoking this license plate. Now in 2013, he says you know I'd like to be the judge on this case to whether I made a good decision or not. That violates due process," said ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk.

IYG leaders said other organizations, such as local universities, have offered low-digit plates to donors for years.

They said the fight with the BMV is exhausting. 

“It takes my time away from what we're supposed to be doing and the organization is influx. It affects the young people. I mean, they don't understand why the BMV is doing this,”  Byrne said.

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