Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 75° Clear
News >  Nation/World

New Jersey woman believes in ‘8THEIST’ license plate

Associated Press

NEWARK – A New Jersey woman who says she was denied a license plate referencing atheism filed suit this week, claiming her online application was rejected because it was deemed potentially offensive.

Shannon Morgan, of Maurice Township, said in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that the Motor Vehicle Commission violated her First Amendment rights when its website rejected the plate reading “8THEIST.” She said she received a message stating that her vanity plate request was ineligible as it “may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.”

Morgan then filled out the online application using the phrase “BAPTIST” as a test, which the website accepted. Morgan claims in her lawsuit that she sent the agency a letter of complaint by registered mail and made several attempts to contact the office by phone, all of which went unanswered.

New Jersey previously, after a brief flap, approved a request from an atheist group’s president for a license plate that read “ATH1EST,” with the numeral 1 in place of the letter “I.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.