ACLU says denial of personalized state license plate is “discriminatory”

OKLAHOMA CITY-- There is controversy surrounding an Oklahoma license plate.

A man said the Oklahoma Tax Commission denied his request for a personalized plate.

The American Civil Liberties Union is now getting involved, calling the decision discriminatory.

The ACLU filed a request at the Oklahoma Tax Commission Thursday.

The civil rights organization is asking the decision makers to reconsider their clients request in a hearing.

“COMMIE” is what an Oklahoma taxpayer wants on his license plate to express his political views.

“As an anarchist-communist, it is easy to see how my beliefs might run contrary to government view; one must look beyond my personal convictions, however, to see how this case affects every single one of us: Once the government is allowed to judge what sort of speech it deems acceptable and censor the rest, the notion of free speech becomes hollow, utterly without meaning," said Zakk Luttrell , the man trying to get the personalized license plate.

He said the Oklahoma Tax Commission claims the word violates its non-offensive content policy.

In an email, a supervisor said it “expresses contempt, ridicule or superiority based on race, gender, ethnic heritage, or religion;” and “would otherwise be inappropriate for display on a state-issued license plate."

"He was denied based on a really vague and overboard policy that we believe violates both the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the free speech guarantees of the Oklahoma constitution," Allie Shinn, with the ACLU, said.

The ACLU said that is not the only issue.

"There are many other instances of Oklahomans expressing themselves both politically and some of their social views on their personalized license plates that have been allowed," Shinn said.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission said you have 30 days, after a denial, to contest the decision.

We reached out to the commission for comment.

Officials told us they would have a statement to us by Friday.