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  WINDY CITY TIMES

'IMGAY' among banned license plates
2011-03-23

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The Chicago Sun-Times recently ran an article on a partial list of personalized license plates that have been banned in Illinois.

The list, known as the "Special Plate Inhibit List," contains almost 4,800 plates, and it grows by about 20 each week. Among the plates banned are "CLIMAX," "HONKERS," "BLOMEE," "GOLFSEX," "OLDPOOP"—and "IMGAY."

When asked why "IMGAY" was among the prohibited plates, Candace Wanzo—who is with the secretary of state's special plates division—told Windy City Times that "IMGAY" was excluded because "we didn't know if, at some point, someone was trying to be negative. We're not saying that being gay is negative [but], for example, someone had 'IHATEU2.' Some people thought it was 'I hate you, too,' but it was 'I hate U2, the band.'"

Wanzo also said that it was possible that "because that list [of plates] has been out there for years, I don't know if that had been [banned] previously. However, if someone applied for something and we were curious about it, normally we would contact that person and ask, 'What is your intent with this?' Of course, if it was something negative, we [wouldn't approve] the plate."

So what if someone applied for that same "IMGAY" vanity plate and it was strictly about gay pride? "I definitely don't think we would deny it in that case, but if someone said it was a joke we wouldn't put it out there that way," Wanzo said.

Rejections make up less than 2 percent of requests for the 150,000 vanity plates issued each year.

—Andrew Davis


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