Some vanity license plate submissions related to the LGBTQ community are likely to be rejected in North Carolina. That's according to a review of the state's so-called “Do Not Issue” personalized license plate list, which contains over 9,000 terms officials have deemed too indecent to be printed.

The list, which is used as a reference by state officials tasked with deciding which submissions to deny, is mostly made up of what you'd expect – hate speech and bathroom humor. But it also contains entries like “GAY,” “LESBIAN,” and “GAYPRIDE."

N.C. Department of Transportation Communications Manager Marty Homan says he's not sure when those terms were added to the list or why. 

The department's current policy allows officials to reject any submission that could “interfere with law enforcement efforts, disrupt peace or reflect a message that is offensive to good taste and decency."

“Anything that is on a license plate can and has been considered government speech by the courts," says Homan. "And so we have a duty to make sure that we're not putting anything on a license plate that would be offensive.”

Homan says the department recently concluded that the list needs a thorough review, something that, to his knowledge, hasn't been done since it was created around 2003. 

“It is something that has come up this year. And it's something that the commissioner has determined that we need to do and staff is going about the process of reviewing the list," says Homan. "And we'll be making recommendations for words or phrases to come off the list.”

Citizens can participate in the review process by contacting the department with their suggestions. 

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