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Gay-youth advocacy to fight for Indiana plate's return

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An Indiana gay-youth advocacy group said it will seek legal help and fight to keep its specialty license plate despite opposition from lawmakers and conservative activists.

Indiana Youth group director Mary Byrne told The Associated Press that the organization's board decided Tuesday night to explore its legal options but hoped to avoid a lawsuit. She said she has been contacted by numerous Indiana lawyers looking to represent her group, but declined to give out their names.

"It took a long time to get the plates and we are not planning on letting go of them easily," Byrne said in a statement Wednesday.

The state Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced last week that the youth group lost its right to have specialty license plates by trading low-digit plates for contributions. That came after 20 Republican state senators complained to the agency about the group's handling of the plate.

The group maintains it is a common practice among Indiana's some 100 organizations with specialty plates to give out low-numbered plates as thank-you gifts.

Indiana nonprofits can receive $25 out of every $40 a motorist spends on a specialty plate. In 2011, the state sold more than 420,000 such plates, netting more than $11 million for nonprofits.

Some lawmakers who said there were too many specialty plates worked on an overhaul that would have eliminated the youth group's plate and several others, but the youth group claimed it was the real target. The bill was scrapped after its sponsor said the debate had become too political.

Just before the end of the session, 20 Republican senators signed a letter to the BMV asking for an investigation of the youth group's plate, then last week the BMV announced it was dropping the plate, along with plates for the Greenways Foundation and the Indiana 4-H Foundation.

Eric Miller, founder of Advance America, one of the conservative groups that lobbied lawmakers behind the scenes to ban the youth group's license plate, accused the group of promoting sex between children as young as 12.

"What they do with little children is illegal and immoral," Miller told the AP Wednesday.

"That is an outright lie," Byrne said when asked about Miller's accusations. The group holds classes talking about safe sex, relationships and dating, but does not talk about sex acts themselves or promote sexual relationships, she said. Byrne added that her group asks for parental consent from all children who attend its classes.

But Miller said he and many lawmakers believe that a private group should not be discussing sex at all with children as young as 12. One class that the youth group put on about promoting safe sex particularly angered lawmakers, he said.

The youth group said revenue from the license plates funds programming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth around the state.

"It's more than just a plate or revenue," Byrne said in the youth group's statement. "Many leaders send LGBT youth the message that they are somehow less than. The plate is one way, a visible sign that support is out there."

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  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

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