‘Choose Life’ plates get Kaine’s approval

Interesting political move, Gov. Kaine. “Virginia has a longstanding program that allows individuals to customize their state-issued license plates for a fee. Subject to certain Department of Motor Vehicle regulations to prohibit obscenity or other impropriety, Virginians have the ability to purchase vanity plates that specify a combination of letters and numbers of their choosing. Or, people can purchase specialty license plates that demonstrate an affinity with a cause, message, organization, or institution. The message conveyed on specialty plates must be approved by the General Assembly and are only issued after at least 350 motorists pay the necessary fee,” Kaine said in a statement today explaining his decision to sign legislation permitting the issuance of specialty license plates bearing the message “Choose Life.”

After 1,000 of the plates are sold, then, $15 of the $25 fee will go to crisis-pregnancy centers, according to the language of the rider to another specialty-plate bill authored by Republican State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli – yes, the same Ken Cuccinelli running for the GOP attorney-general nomination, who has promised to use the job if elected to curb the powers of the governor and the General Assembly if he thinks they’ve gone beyond his view of their constitutional limitations.

Cuccinelli didn’t do this out of the goodness of his heart. This is politics, as should be clear after reading this statement issued today by the social-conservative Family Foundation of Virginia in the name of its president, Victoria Cobb.

“We appreciate Gov. Kaine’s decision to dismiss the fallacious arguments of opponents of these plates by signing this legislation into law. Virginians who wish to support the message of life and the organizations that serve women in crisis pregnancy now have an opportunity to do so simply by purchasing a Choose Life license plate,” Cobb said in the statement.

“This plate presents an opportunity for both sides of the abortion discussion to come together and find common ground,” Cobb said. “While we don’t all share the same understanding about exactly how public policy should address matters of abortion, many share compassion for the women and men whose lives are affected by an unplanned pregnancy. We know that those individuals need emotional support and tangible needs met. The Choose Life plate will provide private-sector funding, not tax dollars, to organizations that support families caught in crisis situations. Everyone should agree that is a good thing for the Commonwealth.”

One can only imagine what a Gov. Bob McDonnell would do if handed legislation for, say, a Planned Parenthood specialty plate. I say that knowing what Kaine had to offer generally regarding such a possibility.

“I sign this legislation today in keeping with the Commonwealth’s longtime practice of approving specialty plates with all manner of political and social messages. Furthermore, if Planned Parenthood—an organization that is already a recipient of state budget funds—or another similar organization ever chooses to seek a specialty license plate in Virginia, I believe the Constitution would require the state to approve that plate to protect against any viewpoint discrimination,” Kaine said.

OK, I’ll bite. Who wants to start the petition drive toward a Equal Rights for Gays and Lesbians plate for next year’s GA to put in motion? Wonder what Victoria Cobb would have to say about that one?


– Story by Chris Graham

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