A New Jersey woman says the state discriminated against her on the basis of her beliefs when it rejected her request for a license plate reading "8THEIST" as "objectionable."
Nonbeliever Shannon Morgan, of Maurice Township, N.J., said that after her custom plate was rejected, she tested "BAPTIST," and the Motor Vehicle Commission's website accepted it.
Now she's filing a First Amendment suit against New Jersey, with representation from Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
A spokesperson for the MVC says the state doesn't discriminate against nonbelievers, citing a case where American Atheists president David Silverman's request for a plate reading ATHE1ST was allowed after a review.
Morgan's lawsuit says the fact that Silverman had to fight to get his plate approved establishes a pattern of rejecting atheist plates in the State, "thereby discriminating against atheist viewpoints and expressing a preference for theism over non-theism."
Her plate wasn't just inadvertently rejected by a computer algorithm, either. A spokesperson for the MVC told NJ.com, "We review every request personally ... and we review them for anything that's offensive of objectionable."