After nearly two hours of public testimony, the Texas DMV, appointed by Governor Rick Perry, voted unanimously to strike down a state license plate celebrating the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The group sought to use the proceeds to build new memorials honoring Southern soldiers. From the beginning, the plate has sparked public controversy with the NAACP at the forefront of opposition.
Last month, Governor Perry expressed that he would not support the license plate. In an interview with Bay News 9 after a fundraiser in Florida, Perry commented, "We don't need to be scraping up old wounds."
The proposal was supported by the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The group's national president, Michael Givens, says the striking down of the plate was purely political. "For us to be singled out when it’s been issued in nine other states, there’s thousands of plates on the road right now, there’s no incident of anybody ever receiving any real harm from this." A similar design proposed by the same group was rejected in 2009 because it was deemed political or controversial in nature.
Matt Glazer with Progress Texas collected 25,000 signitures against the plate. "The community came together to oppose the Confederate flag on historical terms, on racial terms. There’s really no compelling argument that could have been used to endorse this hateful image."
But this might not be the end of the line for the Confederate plate. The Sons of Confederate Veterans were previously rejected in three other states but later won their case in court. The group plans to file suit in Texas within a month.
Additional reporting by Hernán Rosemberg.