Vermont settles case on John 3:16 vanity license plate

Earlier this month the state of Vermont dropped its case against a resident who sought a religious-themed vanity license plate for his car.

In 2004, Shawn Byrne of West Rutland requested the license plate JN36TN. The personalized plate referred to the oft-quoted Bible passage John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Vermont refused to grant the plate on the premise that the State prohibits religious themes on license plates.

Byrne appealed the decision to the federal court, but the State won its case. A second appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resulted in success with a unanimous vote by a three-judge panel.

Vermont decided not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and settled the case by paying Byrne’s legal fees in the amount of $150,000 — and granting other residents religious-themed license plates. Read more from the Burlington Free Press.

The state of Maine doesn’t appear to have restrictions on religious-themed license plates. Here at The Maine Plate, we’ve spotted these vanity license plates out on the road.


See our previous post, Atheist Wins Appeal on Vanity License Plate. Let us know what you think! Should states allow or not allow religious-themed (or how about athiest-themed) license plates?