COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - A South Carolina House member wants the make sure the Confederate Battle Flag no longer appears on state-issued license plates.
State Democratic Minority Leader Rep. Todd Rutherford is sponsoring House bill H 3091, which would call for changes in the state’s Sons of Confederate Veterans specialty license plates.
“Each special license plate shall not contain a Confederate flag,” the bill reads.
If the bill passes, anyone who has one of the current specialty plates, which include the square Confederate battle flag design, will receive a new plate without the banner if they renew their license plate. No new plates would be issued that bear the banner.
The plates are issued for two-year periods at a cost of $30. A portion of that fee goes to the South Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle’s website says.
While supporters of the Confederate flag argue that it is a symbol of the state’s Confederate heritage, opponents have claimed it is a symbol of hate and that it celebrates slavery.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a historical, patriotic and non-political organization dedicated to “ensuring that a true history of the 1861-1865 period is preserved,” its website states.
The South Carolina division of the organization is made up of more than 3,000 members.
Preston Wilson, the commander of the Fort Sumter Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Charleston released this statement late Wednesday:
The Confederate Battle Flag is a flag of the soldier not of the government. Many South Carolinians died under the banner while doing what they thought was necessary to defend their home from what was viewed by them as an invasion. Their memory deserves to live on.
In 1938, veterans of North and South gathered in Gettysburg and President Franklin D. Roosevelt said all should be honored. This tradition of honoring all Americans that served in that horrific conflict should continue.
Rep. Rutherford is entitled to his opinion but his legislation is an attack on our 1st Amendment Rights as a Historical Honor Society. Cancel culture shall not prevail in the Palmetto State.
Rutherford did not respond to a request for comment.