Dec. 11, 2012. The Christian Action League responded Monday to a federal judge’s ruling against North Carolina’s Choose Life license plate, urging the state to appeal the decision and supporters of the plate to keep up the fight.
U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox ruled Friday that the state’s offering of such a plate without also having a pro-abortion option constitutes “viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”
“Oddly enough, in a case in New York, this exact argument — viewpoint discrimination — was used to support the issuance of Choose Life plates, so it is clear that there is much debate over this in terms of constitutionality with most rulings favoring the plates. The Alliance Defending Freedom won a similar case for Choose Life in New Jersey,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “That’s one reason we urge the state to move forward with an appeal.”
The Choose Life license plates were approved by state lawmakers in June of 2011 to benefit Pregnancy Care Centers across the state, a fact that angered pro-abortion advocates and led the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation to file the case against the state in September that year. Two months later, Judge Fox granted an injunction against the plates.
Friday’s ruling was a blow to pro-life supporters, who had worked for some nine years to get the plate passed. But Rep. Mitch Gillespie (R-Burke), who had led the push, vowed to keep up the fight. And Dr. Creech pointed out the success of the Choose Life trend in other states.
“Obviously, there is a way to make these plates available without opening the door to funding for abortion promoters like Planned Parenthood,” he said. “As evidence of this fact, Choose Life plates are available in some 28 states and pro-abortion plates are selling in only four that we know about. In fact, North Carolina is one of only two states in the Southeast that does not offer the plates.”
Dr. Creech added, “We understand that the judge’s ruling centered in part on the issue of whether or not the plates could be considered government speech. Well, prior courts have ruled that the encouragement of child-birth is a legitimate governmental objective. In other words, the message of the ‘Choose Life’ plate should be considered government speech.”
He also pointed out the lack of logic in the ACLU’s claim that the state cannot create an avenue to express one side of an issue without setting up the same opportunity for the other side.
“North Carolina has more than 150 specialty plates including an Animal Lovers plate, a Save the Sea Turtles plate and Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains plate,” he said. “Does this ruling mean lawmakers should have also approved plates for Animal Haters, Kill the Sea Turtles and Enemies of the Smokies? This is absolutely absurd!”
Read the High Country Press article about the ruling here: www.hcpress.com/news/fed-judge-rules-choose-life-specialty-n-c-license-plate-unconstitutional-with-no-comparable-pro-choice-plate.html