The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will no longer issue or renew Confederate battle flag specialty license plates.
The plates were issued to members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) organization as a sign of membership, according to the Star Tribune. The ban was put into effect on Jan. 1, North Carolina Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Abbott said in a statement to the Daily Caller.
“Effective January 1, 2021, the Division of Motor Vehicles will no longer issue or renew specialty license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag or any variation of that flag,” the DMV said in a statement, according to the report. “The Division of Motor Vehicles has determined that license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag have the potential to offend those who view them.”
“We have therefore concluded that display of the Confederate battle flag is inappropriate for display on specialty license plates, which remain property of the state,” the statement continued, according to the report.
Abbott said that the DMV will continue to recognize the SCV as a “civic organization entitled to the issuance of a specialty plate,” but that their classification as a civic organization “does not entitle it to dictate the contents of the government speech on that speciality plate.”
Abbott said the DMV is open to new artwork pending review but until then the DMV will issue the SCV standard plates or speciality plates that don’t bare the emblem of the Confederate flag. (RELATED: Maryland Leaders Pushing To Eliminate ‘Confederate-Sympathizing’ State Song)
The North Carolina Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans said the new rule constituted “discrimination” and argued the state is breaking the law.
“This blatant discrimination by our government is being driven from ignorance of our State’s true history by some and a deep hatred for native Southerners by others,” a statement posted to Facebook said. “We fear it is more of the latter, being driven by racist organizations and intolerant politicians that would rather condone violence and destruction against anyone or anything that doesn’t conform to their way of thinking.”
“Make no mistake about this,” the statement read. “We are a hereditary civic organization that takes great pride in our ancestry, our deep roots, our ethnic heritage, and our ancestor’s sacrifices to the Southern States including North Carolina.”