Bennie Hart Wiki – Biography
Bennie Hart has been awarded over $150,000 after the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet denied him a license plate that reads “IM GOD.”A judge has ordered the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to pay more than $150,000 for the attorneys’ fees of a man who was denied of his request for a license plate that read “IM GOD.”
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A United States District Judge has ordered the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to pay $150,000 in attorney fees to a man who was denied a license plate that said, “IM GOD.”
Ben “Bennie” Hart said he drove around Ohio with “IM GOD” on his plate for more than a decade. Hart, who identifies as an atheist, says his personalized plate is his way of spreading a political and philosophical message that faith is susceptible to individualized interpretation.
“I can prove I’m God. You can’t prove I’m not. Now, how can I prove I’m God? Well, there are six definitions for God in the American Heritage Dictionary, and number five is a very handsome man, and my wife says I’m a very handsome man, and nobody argues with my wife,” Hart told FOX19 NOW.
When Hart moved to Kenton County in 2016, he wanted to keep his license plate the same.
Instead, he received a letter from commonwealth transportation officials saying his request was denied because license plates may not be “vulgar or obscene.”
The state’s lawyer also said in the letter that they would take the same position if the request was “IM ALLAH,” “IM BUDDAH,” or “IM SATAN”.
But instead, transportation officials sent him a letter denying his request, saying his request was “not in good taste and would create the potential of distraction to other drivers and possibly confrontations,” according to court documents.
Last November, the court ruled in Hart’s favor, stating, “To allow such plates as ‘IM4GOD’ and ‘LUVGOD’ but reject ‘IM GOD’ belies viewpoint neutrality. Regardless, the court concludes that in this case, (the statute governing such license plates) is an unreasonable and therefore impermissible restriction on Mr. Hart’s First Amendment rights.”Then last week, US District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ordered the Transportation Cabinet to pay Hart $150,715.50 in attorneys’ fees, as well as $491.24 in litigation costs.
CNN reached out to the Cabinet for further comment.
“I’m thankful to finally have the same opportunity to select a personal message for my license plate just as any other driver,” Hart said in a statement in November. “There is nothing inappropriate about my view that religious beliefs are subject to individual interpretation.”