Democrat Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has ordered the removal of the Confederate flag from Virginia state license plates, The Washington Post reports.
“As [South Carolina] Governor Haley said yesterday, her state can ill afford to let this symbol continue to divide the people of South Carolina,” McAuliffe said. “I believe the same is true here in Virginia. Although the battle flag is not flown here on Capitol Square, it has been the subject of considerable controversy, and it divides many of our people.”
McAuliffe said that the flag’s display on the state issued license plates is also “unnecessarily divisive and hurtful to too many” of the Virginia people.
The flag is displayed on a specialty plate for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which can be currently found on 1,594 license plates in Virginia, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Although the state will continue to issue a specialty plate that recognizes the Sons of Confederate Veterans, it will no longer display the group’s logo, which bears an image of the flag. Attorney General Mark R. Herring and his transportation secretary, Aubrey Layne, will begin the process of reversing the current plates by no longer issuing the plates and replacing existing ones.
The call to remove the flag comes in the wake of Supreme Court decision that allowed the state of Texas to reject a license plate with a Confederate flag and the removal of the flag from all South Carolina government buildings and statehouse grounds.(RELATED: GOP Presidential Candidates Back SC Governor’s Call To Remove Confederate Flag)
Debate over the Confederate flag was spurred by the shootings at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where the accused gunman, Dylann Roof, allegedly told police he hoped to start a race war with the attack and uttered racial slurs to the victims. The 21-year-old also had a Confederate flag displayed on his license plate.
(RELATED: Flashback: As Governor, Bill Clinton Honored Confederacy On Arkansas Flag)