Infrastructure & Environment

Rhode Island Governor Vetoes 'Choose Life' License Plates

Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee, citing a tradition of separating church and state, on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have authorized the issuance of license plates that say ‘‘Choose Life’’ to raise money for a Christian crisis pregnancy center that opposes abortion.
July 17, 2013
 

Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee, citing a tradition of separating church and state, on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have authorized the issuance of license plates that say ‘‘Choose Life’’ to raise money for a Christian crisis pregnancy center that opposes abortion.

Abortion rights supporters had urged Chafee to veto the bill, which passed the Democratic-controlled General Assembly shortly before lawmakers adjourned for the year. Twenty-nine states have similar plates, which sometimes feature children’s images.

Chafee wrote to lawmakers in his veto message that the function of a license plate is ‘‘to register and identify a motor vehicle.’’

‘‘It is my belief that state participation in the transmission of funds to this organization would violate the separation of church and state, one of the fundamental principles upon which our state was founded,’’ he wrote.

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