TRENTON, July 27, (LifeSiteNews.com) – On July 26, a federal judge refused to dismiss the civil rights lawsuit brought against New Jersey officials by The Children First Foundation for rejecting the organization’s pro-adoption “Choose Life” specialty plate in violation of the group’s freedom of speech, due process and equal protection.
“This is a significant legal victory in our three-year battle to get the “Choose Life” license plate approved in New Jersey,” said Dr. Elizabeth Rex, President and Co-Founder of The Children First Foundation.
The adoption group worked closely with the Special Plate Unit at the Motor Vehicle Department that initially approved and even manufactured CFF’s “Choose Life” license plate back in July 2003. Unfortunately, when CFF’s organizational protoplate was presented for its final approval to Ms. Diane Legreide, the MVC’s Chief Administrator, she objected to the use of the phrase “Choose Life” under the crayon drawing of two smiling children and asked CFF to redesign its plate.
CFF agreed to remove the phrase in its copyrighted logo and redesigned its plate using “NJCHOOSE- LIFE.ORG” instead of “FUND-ADOPTION.ORG” as the organization’s official identifier at the bottom of the plate. Both domain names have been owned and operated by CFF since 2002 and both are officially registered with the New Jersey Secretary of State as legal alternate names for The Children First Foundation. Unfortunately, when the MVC rejected the use of CFF’s legal alternate name “NJCHOOSE- LIFE.ORG” at the bottom of its redesigned plate, the organization had no other alternative but to sue the state in federal court for unconstitutional government censorship and viewpoint discrimination.
“The Children First Foundation is extremely grateful to Jeff Shafer, our lead attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, and our New Jersey attorney, Demetrios Stratis,” said Dr. Rex following yesterday’s favorable ruling. “This is their third outstanding victory in federal court against the state. Now that our lawsuit can finally proceed, we eagerly look forward to winning this important battle for free speech and equal treatment under the law in New Jersey.”