Tuesday 25 April 2017

Man wins fight to wear goat horns in driver's licence photo

Phelan Moonsong has been given permission to wear goat horns in his driver's licence photo (Phelan Moonsong/AP)
Phelan Moonsong has been given permission to wear goat horns in his driver's licence photo (Phelan Moonsong/AP)

An ordained Pagan priest has finally been allowed to sport goat horns in his driver's licence photo.

Maine resident Phelan Moonsong said that unless he is sleeping or bathing, he always wears his goat horns, which serve as his spiritual antennae and help him educate others about Paganism.

But he is questioning why he had to appeal to the state over the photo after explaining his religious beliefs to Bureau of Motor Vehicle staff. And, he adds, the horns did not obstruct his face.

The Maine Secretary of State's office said the state was not familiar with his choice of headdress and had asked Mr Moonsong for more information to review the issue.

A spokeswoman said the state allowed the goat horns because he cited their religious purposes and also because they did not obstruct his face.

Maine motor vehicle staff can hold licence photos for review if they have a concern about religious headdress.

Mr Moonsong said after he applied for an updated driver's licence in August and explained his religion to a motor vehicles employee, he was told to appeal to the Secretary of State's office.

He said he provided more information to the Secretary of State's office. But when he contacted the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in late November, he said he was told his ID was rejected - which was news to him.

Mr Moonsong then filled out an application for legal assistance from the American Civil Liberties Union, which recently told him it was unable to take his case.

"What I was requesting should have been accepted according to what was written in statute and in guidelines," he said.

It should be no different than a nun wearing a habit, or a Sikh wearing a turban, Mr Moonsong said.

But, he said, he was happy to receive his new driver's licence last week.

AP

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