When a man from Orange County, Florida saw his new license plate for his new car, he couldn’t believe what he saw. The license plate includes the three letters G A Y. And why is this so offensive to the man? Because he is a gay man himself. And now he suspects that the Florida DMV worker purposely chose those letters as a way to insult him for his sexual orientation. And now the offended Florida resident, Craig Lukas, is fighting back. And he doesn’t plan to give up until the state fixes his license plate.
Although it is unclear if Lukas was given the plate on purpose, he wants it changed nonetheless. As a gay man in Florida, it is hard enough being himself, let alone telegraphing it to every person on the road.
“There are plenty of combinations out there that the state could have used,” Craig Lukas told WFTV. “It was definitely an oversight on the part of the state as far as I’m concerned.”
Lukas and his partner purchased a new Volvo at the end of December 2015. They bought it at a dealership and were excited for the car that was promised to be both safe and fashionable. But after the state of Florida issued him the GAY license plate, he has refused to drive it. So, the car is stuck in his garage until Florida gives him a new plate.
“I asked the gentleman who sold it to us, I said, ‘Is this for real?'” Lukas recalled. “And he says, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Look at the license plate.’ He said, ‘Let me see what I can do, Craig.’ He said, ‘I’m sorry, I think every plate we have has the word ‘gay’ on it.'”
Because no one wanted a license plate with the word GAY on it, the plates were returned to the Orange County Tax Collectors Office. But that office wrote a statement to the local news stations that said, “These plates have been vetted by the state and we see no issue with them.”
After a long battle, the Florida DMV agreed that the plates were offensive. Although they issued Central Florida plates that range from GAYA01 to GAYW35, they are allowing people to come into their office and exchange the plate for something different. Lukas plans to do this. But they’ll probably charge him to do it.
This is not the first time Florida has treated gay people unfairly. Back in 2014, a Florida gay couple, who was legally married in New York, wanted their names updated on their Florida drivers’ licenses. Scott and Daniel Wall-Desousa thought the transaction would be simple enough. But the Florida DMV resisted their request.
Daniel got his named changed on his license at the Brevard County, Florida DMV, but Scott was denied the change at a different location. He had to drive all the way to Orlando to do it.
At that time, John Luca, press secretary for Florida’s DMV said: “Same sex marriage certificates that are issued by other states are not recognized as valid in Florida and cannot be used as proof of identity.”
Watch the “GAY” license plate report below.
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