A Portland man received his driver’s license following a nine-month religious exemption appeal to wear a fox hat in his ID photo.
The man, identified only as Bishop, originally had his license renewal denied because of the photo, and he was without a license for nine months while he waited for his appeal to be approved.
Bishop was approved for religious exemption by the DMV after explaining that the fox hat honors the Seven Drums religion, a Nez Perce religion he practices.
Bishop explained to KATU that in the Seven Drums religion, each practitioner has an animal totem. His is a fox, which led him to choose to wear his fox hat in his ID photo.
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The Portland man was allowed to wear the hat in his photo at the DMV office, but it wasn’t quite that simple.
“Down at the state office where all the IDs go through review, a gentleman saw my ID and thought I was just wearing some silly hat,” Bishop told KATU.
Bishop enlisted lawyer Bradley Steinman to fight the DMV to guarantee his religious freedom.
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“It shouldn’t matter if you wear a yarmulke or a Hijab or, ‘a silly fox hat,’ as the man at the DMV wants to call it,” Bishop said.
A spokesperson for the DMV told KATU that he had never seen an exemption for the Seven Drums religion before.