A California veteran reportedly insisted on wearing his U.S. Marine Corps hat in his new driver's license photo.
Alex Morales, a former U.S. Marine, insisted on keeping the hat on while taking a new photo for his driver's license at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) agency in Bakersfield, California.
Morales went to the agency to renew his driver's license on Dec. 9, according to a message that his wife, Henrietta, posted on Facebook the same day.
The post explained that, while waiting his turn to have his picture taken, Morales noticed a group of men taking their photos with turbans on their heads.
When DMV employees asked Morales to remove his hat, a black baseball cap with "USMC" printed in large red letters on the front, he refused twice.
When asked why he would not remove the cap, he pointed out that the other patrons were allowed to keep their turbans.
"Those other men didn't remove their head wear, I shouldn't either," he told DMV staff, according to the Facebook post.
After he was told that the turbans were a religious exemption, Morales replied that his hat was also a religious accessory.
"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," the post noted.
The DMV workers called a supervisor in Sacramento to ask what should be done.
After an hour, Morales was told that he could keep his hat on for the photo. The DMV staff also told him that they would let him know if the department had issues with his photo later on so that he could appeal, which Morales said he would do.
Several employees reportedly clapped quietly for Morales as he exited the agency with his hat still on.
Morales has since urged other veterans to follow his example.
"Alex feels no one has more right to display their head gear then a Veteran or active service person," the post said.
The original Facebook message detailing the incident has been shared more than 139,000 times as of Dec. 28. Henrietta reposted the same message on Dec. 18, which has drawn over 314,000 shares in 10 days.
Posters writing in the comments section of the original post called the incident "awesome" and congratulated Morales for his decision not to remove the cap.
DMV spokesman Jamie Garza told the Bakersfield Californian that Morales was granted an exemption under the "normal appearance" rule.
Garza explained that although hats, glasses and other accessories that obscure the face are normally not permitted in license photos, people who wear them on a daily basis may ask for an exemption.
Articles worn as part of a person's religious observance, such as head turbans, are also permitted, Garza said.