A fight over ‘In God We Trust’ Indiana license plates

In Indiana, the extra fee for specialty tags doesn’t apply to one that invokes the divine. Critics go to court.

By P.J. HUFFSTUTTER
Los Angeles Times

May 1, 2007 – The Scrooge Report Post

FORT WAYNE, IND. — When Mark Studler was renewing his specialty license plate recently, which touts his support of environmental issues, he expected to pay the annual premium of $40 to the state.

After all, he wanted to express his love of the great outdoors every time he hit the highways — and liked that $25 of the fee was donated to the Indiana Heritage Trust, a state conservation group.

But he objected to a new license plate that he felt also qualified as a specialty plate — one with the motto “In God We Trust” — but didn’t require a premium. Not even the $15 extra fee that usually goes to the state for administrative costs.

“I don’t have any problem with people expressing their religious beliefs, whether it’s on a bumper sticker or their license plate,” said Studler, 49, a construction worker. “But folks should be treated in the same way — and charged the same fees by the state — as Hoosiers who prefer that their custom tags promote education or the environment.”

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