Oklahoma resident Keith Kimmel is suing his local government because it won’t let him acquire a personalized license plate with the words “IM GAY” on its face.
The Oklahoma Tax Commission, which controls the disbursement of license tags, has ruled that the phrase is “too sexual,” and therefore objectionable. It has prohibited its publication.
First reported on Qweerty.com last November, Kimmel has now retained an attorney and filed a formal declaratory judgment action asking a court to rule that the Tax Commission’s determination is an unconstitutional inhibition on his First Amendment rights.
“Under our state Constitution, all Oklahomans enjoy the right to freedom of speech and an equal opportunity to express their viewpoints,” Kimmel claimed in a TV interview promoting his case.
“Previous testimony in the administrative proceedings held on this matter has shown that the Commission is selectively granting and denying applications based on Commission employees’ own personal prejudices and viewpoints,” he said.
Stated Fort Lauderdale constitutional rights lawyer Russell Cormican, who has argued same-sex civil rights cases, “The Constitution requires that state rules are viewpoint neutral, with an objective standard that puts the taxpayer on notice of what is legal and what is not. Mr. Kimmel may have a very valid argument that the Commission is improperly extending its authority.”
Kimmel said that the suit is not frivolous, but very much intended “to put an end to the Tax Commission’s unconstitutional practice of subjecting taxpayers to the whim of individual employees.”
Oklahoma authorities have not yet formally replied to the suit.