License plates displaying a pro-life message are unconstitutional in North Carolina, declared a federal judge on Friday, because the state does not also offer a pro-choice plate.
A CNN BeliefBlog post quoted the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James Fox: “The State’s offering a Choose Life license plate in the absence of a pro-choice alternative constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”
The license plates have been legal since 2011 when North Carolina lawmakers passed the bill allowing them—the same lawmakers voted down a pro-choice alternative plate at the time. The funds from the specialty plates goes to a nonprofit supporting crisis pregnancy centers.
The American Civil Liberties Union called the verdict “a great victory for free speech rights,” explaining that “the government cannot create an avenue of expression for one side of a contentious political issue while denying an equal opportunity to citizens with the opposite view.”