Florida drivers won't get new Christian number plates

Moves to create two Florida number plates with images of a crucified Jesus on one, and a stained glass window and cross on another, have been ditched by the Florida legislature.

Both number plates had come under blistering criticism from Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union. The Associated Press reported that bills to create the number plates died at the end of the regular legislative session on Friday.

Siplin was not available Monday for comment.

Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican, had earlier said he would support the plate. "If they (critics) don't want one, they don't have to buy one," Crist told The St. Petersburg Times.

Florida drivers are able to purchase more than 100 specialized number plates. Proceeds, which normally run between $15 and $25, support various causes and groups.

The other plate, proposed by state Sen. Ronda Storms, a Republican from Brandon, would have depicted a stained glass window, cross and the words "I Believe." A district court has temporarily halted the production of similar number plates in South Carolina.

"Number plates are not a license for the government to prefer one religion over others," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of the Washington-based Americans United. "I'm glad the legislature in Florida seems to have finally realised that."

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