The great state of Alabama has issued the owner of a shiny black Ford Mustang a vanity license plate that displays the words “No Homo.”
The plate reads “N0H0M0,” with zeroes instead of letter o’s. According to Gay Star News, “No Homo” is a term used in hip hop culture by someone who wants to distance himself from something he said that may give the impression he’s gay.
“In a sense,” music journalist Nick Catucci explains in New York Magazine, “‘no homo’ is just a more evolved way of calling someone a faggot.”
The plate was first noticed by Paul Fulton Jr. earlier this week. He told ThinkProgress that he was “first shocked, then angered” that the state had issued a blatantly homophobic plate.
“How could they allow outright discrimination to be published on a state license plate?” he said.
Of course, Alabama has a lot of work to do with it comes to how it treats gay people. The state does not recognize marriages between same-sex couples. On top of that, it has no nondiscrimination ordinances or hate crime laws that protect LGBT people. And up until 2003, sodomy was still illegal. Even today, despite the U.S. Supreme Court striking down all state sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas, lawmakers in Alabama have yet to actually remove the unconstitutional, unenforceable sodomy law from the state’s books. So we can’t say we’re totally surprised it issued this license plate like this, though it’s still disappointing.
Amanda Collier, a spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Revenue, told ThinkProgress that there was a process is in place to monitor personalized license plates.
When a driver files a request for a vanity plate, she explained, a three-person review panel considers each application, sometimes offering alternative lettering for the requested message.
“There is a list of more than 6,000 plates that are strictly banned and will not be allowed on any tag in the state,” she said, including “anything explicit, any profanity, or vulgar language.”
Evidently, antigay messages don’t quality as explicit, profane or vulgar.