Man pushes for 'gay rights' license plate, wins

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ATLANTA - The man who was behind getting the state law changed for vanity tags spoke exclusively with Channel 2 Action News about his victory.

Cyrus Gilbert applied for a "gay rights" vanity plate. After being told the tag was unavailable, he did some digging and found gay advocacy tags were banned in Georgia. He sued and won his case. Now, he has his new vanity plates that say "Gay Pwr."

Although his attorney said lifting the ban is a step in the right direction, he believes progress still needs to be made. For instance, the new law bans gun language on a license plate; nonetheless Gilbert considers the latest change a victory.

In January, Gilbert decided to express himself on his license plate. He applied for a vanity -- or prestige tag -- through the state. His top three choices were "4 gay lib," "gay guy," and "gay power."

"The first one came back as unavailable, as well as second, as well as the third one," said Gilbert.

He thought it strange all of his choices were taken. Upon further investigation, he realized they were on a banned list through the state's motor vehicle division.

"It doesn't cause harm to anyone. It is not vulgar in any way and it is my choice," said Gilbert.

Gilbert filed a lawsuit and alongside his attorney Cynthia Counts, he got the state to change how it goes about approving prestige tags. Counts said prior to their suit, decisions were made arbitrarily.

"It appeared sometimes you could get a word like 'gun' and other times you couldn't," Counts said.

Now the state has clearly defined what is and is not accepted, and Gilbert came out a winner.

"This was blatantly unconstitutional, needed to be challenged," Counts said.

But now references to drugs, sex and guns are not allowed. Counts feels the state could get into another constitutional issue by banning the word guns.

"I can't say love guns. I don't understand that," she said.

Gilbert has chosen to go with "gay power" on his tag. The meaning, he says, is more powerful to him now than it was five months ago.

"It's all about progress. It's another step forward," said Gilbert.

Gilbert says he's received a lot of negative feedback on social media, but he's not worried about it. He says he's glad he is responsible for this change, even if it is a small one.

Gilbert's new plates arrived Tuesday.



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