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Man Wins Court Fight to Get 'HIV POS' on License Plate

December 13, 1998| From Associated Press

EL CERRITO, Calif. — Kevin Dimmick has withstood a two-year federal court battle to display his HIV-positive status on the back of his Harley.

The 42-year-old Kensington man sued the state Department of Motor Vehicles in 1996 after it refused to approve his application for a motorcycle license plate that read "HIV POS," saying it could be considered offensive.

After the victory, Dimmick picked up his new license plate Friday.

Dimmick, who now has AIDS, ran a support group for heterosexuals called Positive Support. He said he wanted the plate because it would help spread acceptance of straight people who have the virus.

"I'm not saying it's a good thing, but it has to be acceptable, like cancer, and I didn't feel it was," he said.

In July, a federal judge said the state's reticence to print the plate was discriminatory, noting that the state has allowed plates that say CANCER, ALZHIMR, ADDICTD and END HIV.

"Disease and illness, including those that are terminal, are subjects of wide public discourse," U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said in her ruling.

Dimmick said he is suing the state over the handling of the license plate case. He filed a lawsuit in federal court in Oakland, accusing the state attorney general's office of conspiring to obstruct justice.

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