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Mo. pro-life organization challenges ban on "Choose Life" license plates

Missouri Department of Revenue vetoed slogan's viewpoint, ADF attorneys file suit on behalf of Choose Life of Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Prohibited from using “Choose Life” as a slogan on specialty license plates, a Missouri pro-life organization, represented by attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund, filed suit today against the Missouri Department of Revenue.

“Neither the Missouri Constitution nor the U.S. Constitution allows state officials to discriminate against politically and socially conservative speech,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster. “Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Missouri officials did when they denied Choose Life the right to exercise their free speech rights.”

Choose Life of Missouri, Inc., submitted an application to the Missouri Department of Revenue for a specialty license plate bearing the slogan “Choose Life.” The request was denied after two state senators, both members of a committee responsible for reviewing the applications, objected to the proposed plate’s viewpoint.

At the same hearing, the applications of four other organizations--an autism foundation, a conservancy group, a cattlemen’s foundation, and a military support organization--were approved.

An appeal of the committee’s initial decision led to a second denial of Choose Life’s application.

“Since the state has made this forum of private speech open to everyone, it cannot discriminate based upon Choose Life’s message,” Oster said. “No one, state senators included, is permitted to ban an expression because they oppose its viewpoint.”

ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.