Governor Perry said in an interview in Florida that the proposal if approved, could renew old divisions and bad memories. But as lieutenant governor, Perry opposed removing Confederate memorials from public property when the NAACP launched an effort to remove two bronze plaques with Confederate symbols in the Texas Supreme Court building.
The specialty plates are being sought by the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Ray James is past commander of the group.
"The logo's very important to us and the reason for it is, because it's the flag of the soldier. It's not the flag of the confederate government. It does not represent the politics of the day. It represents the men that fought, and died and bled on the battlefield. It was designed on the battlefield. It doesn't have a political connotation. We condemn racism, and we condemn racial hatred, and we just wish it weren't happening to us."
James says if the plates are denied by the board, they might contest the decision in court. Matt Glazer heads the nonprofit advocacy group Progress Texas. It led a petition drive against the proposed plates.
"If they wanna truly honor the history of the state, there are other ways to do it, instead of using the flag that has been endorsed by other hateful groups, that have done violent crimes, that have gone and used this as a racist image. That's what we oppose. We oppose that icon being endorsed by the state of Texas."
The board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has been deadlocked 4-4 on whether to grant a request to issue specialty license plates.
The nine member board, all appointed by the governor, has one new member. He has not yet indicated which way he will vote at its next meeting November 9th.