December 23, 2013 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Va. group asks for ‘Equality’ license plate
Equality Virginia, Adam Ebbin, gay news, Washington Blade

Virginia State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) said he was not contacted by Equality Virginia to be the one to introduce the legislation to create the “Equality for All” license plate, but said he fully supports such legislation and believes it will pass, despite the Virginia General Assembly’s longstanding reluctance to pass LGBT rights measures. (Photo courtesy of Adam Ebbin)

The statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality Virginia says it has arranged for members of the Virginia General Assembly to introduce legislation to create a license plate bearing its name as well as the slogan “Equality for All.”

“A number of Equality Virginia supporters have shown an interest for an equality license plate,” the group says on its website. “As a result, we are working with legislators to pass a bill this session that will give Virginians the option to put an equality license plate on their car.”

But the website message notes that under existing law, a bill expected to be introduced in January to create the license plate cannot move forward unless Equality Virginia submits 450 pre-paid applications from Virginia motorists requesting the plate. The fee for the plate is $25.

The website message includes a link to an online application set up by Equality Virginia, which says it will collect all the payments and applications and deliver them in bulk to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

“While we expect this legislation to pass, please rest assured that if it does not, you will be fully refunded,” the website message says.

Virginia State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who’s gay, said he was not contacted by Equality Virginia to be the one to introduce the legislation to create the “Equality for All” license plate. But said he fully supports such legislation and believes it will pass, despite the Virginia General Assembly’s longstanding reluctance to pass LGBT rights measures.

“The General Assembly has passed both pro-life and pro-choice license plates in the past,” Ebbin said. “So license plates for a point of view are not new,” he said, adding that the legislature has approved more than 100 different kinds of personalized license plates. Many, he said, advocate for a cause such as animal rights.

James Parish, Equality Virginia’s executive director, said the depiction of the plate shown on the website could be modified before it is formally introduced in the General Assembly, but he expects the final product to be similar to the image published on the site. He said members of the General Assembly all know what Equality Virginia stands for and the overwhelming response by EV members and supporters to the proposed license plate has been “highly supportive.”

The online form for applying for the “Equality” license plate can be reached via equalityvirginia.org.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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