The proposed South Carolina plate would have looked something like Florida's (pictured above)

Last year, the South Carolina state legislature approved a bill to establish a Christian-themed license plate depicting a cross in front of a stained-glass window and bearing the words "I Believe". The vote spurred public advocacy groups into action, decrying the move as a violation of the separation of church and state.

According to the Associated Press, a similar bill in Florida failed to pass into law, and now a U.S. district court has struck down the license plate in South Carolina as a First Amendment violation. In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie took specific aim at the state's Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, the driving force behind the initiative, calling the move "an effort to purchase political capital with religious coin."

In addition to banning the plate, Judge Currie also ordered the state to reimburse the legal expenses of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, two groups which fought against the initiative and were, if you'll pardon the pun, decidedly cross.

[Sources: The Associated Press; The New York Times]

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