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Oklahoma Man Won't Yield in Fight for Pro-LGBT License Plate

Oklahoma Man Won't Yield in Fight for Pro-LGBT License Plate


John Keefe says he's pursuing his fight for a license plate reading 'LGBTALY' as a way to raise awareness for LGBT equality.

A straight man in Oklahoma whose request for a custom license plate identifying him as an LGBT ally was denied won't be yielding his case any time soon.

In fact, he filed a petition in Oklahoma County District Court Monday hoping to compel the agency responsible for making decisions on custom license plates to release records he has requested, reports The Oklahoman.

John Keefe, who is married to a woman and has three children, first applied for the custom license plate bearing the letters "LGBTALY" in December. When he didn't hear back after filing his application, Keefe said he thought the application had been lost.

But then Keefe received a letter from the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the agency responsible for issuing license plates in the state. That letter denied Keefe's request because the state agency believed the message "carries a sexual connotation," which is against commission rules, according to local news reports.

Since the commission's denial, Keefe said he filed an open records request for comprehensive lists of all license plates approved and denied by the state. When that request went unfulfilled, Keefe filed another request seeking clarity on the commission's open records policy.

Keefe, who lives in Edmond and owns and operates C&K Global Investigations and Bail Bonds, told The Oklahoman that none of his requests for records have been granted. That's why he filed the petition Monday. His case is scheduled for a closed-to-the-public hearing with an administrative law judge later this year, the newspaper reports.

Keefe, who is reportedly an ordained minister who officiates weddings for same-sex and opposite-sex couples, has repeatedly told local media he is pressing the issue as a way to raise awareness for LGBT rights.

A spokeswoman for the Tax Commission told TheOklahoman that all such requests are handled by the legal department and offered assurance that the commission responds to all open records requests. The newspaper did note that the Oklahoma Tax Commission provided it with a list of currently restricted license plates, which included "2,136 letter and number combinations that have been deemed inappropriate or offensive by staff."

"Applications for specialized plates are reviewed by staff and denied if the request violates one of six conditions," according to The Oklahoman. Custom license plates are not issued if the requested text "carries a sexual connotation; expresses contempt, ridicule or superiority based on race, gender, politics, ethnic heritage or religion; is vulgar, derogatory, profane or obscene; refers to bodily functions, fluids or intimate body parts; refers to alcohol, drugs or gangs; or is otherwise inappropriate."

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