Texas votes down Confederate flag plate

Nov. 10, 2011 at 3:27 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles rejected a specialty license plate with the Confederate flag Thursday.

The commissioners, all appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry, voted unanimously against issuing the plate, the San Antonio Express-News reported. The vote came two weeks after Perry came out against the plate, saying the state doesn't need "to scrape that wound again."

The plate would have shown the so-called Confederate battle flag, the flag most commonly associated with the short-lived Confederate States of America. State Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who sponsored the plate with his agency, said it would honor "the soldiers, not the politicians."

African-American groups opposed the plate. Gary Bledsoe, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in the state, said approving the plate would hurt Texas.

"This is the wrong thing to do," Bledsoe said. "We don't want others to look at Texas with scorn and ridicule and think that we are a bunch of country bumpkins."

Specialty plates are a perpetual source of controversy in many states. Court decisions on the free speech aspects of plates have been mixed.

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