Right Hooks

Marine Vet Stands Up to DMV Red Tape

Marine vet: 1. Bureaucratic tangle at the DMV: 0.

Publius · Jan. 4, 2016

If “Pastafarians,” people who satirize religion by claiming to be worshipers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, can get their department of motor vehicles to let them wear colanders on their heads while getting their driver’s license photo taken, then government can at least accommodate a veteran wanting to display his service to his homeland. Last month, Marine Corps vet Alex Morales went to his local DMV in California to get a new license while he was wearing a baseball cap with “USMC” emblazoned across it in red. Ahead of him, the DMV was photographing a group of men, probably Sikhs, who were wearing turbans. Here’s how Morales’ wife, Henrietta, described what happened next in a Facebook post:

“Alex was asked to take his hat off to have his picture taken. He said ‘no’, and ‘no’ again when asked the second time. When he was asked why he would not remove his hat he said, ‘those men didn’t remove their head wear, I shouldn’t either’. It was explained that this was their attire and their religion. Alex told the DMV person that what he had on was his attire and when he entered the Marines he declared an oath to the USA, and one nation under God, so that his oath was under God so just as good as his religion.”

Eventually, the DMV allowed Morales to stand for his photo, USMC hat and all. Afterwards, Henrietta Morales said some of the DMV staff quietly applauded Morales’ stand. Marine vet: 1. Bureaucratic tangle at the DMV: 0.

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