Following a number of other southern states to do away with images of the Confederate flag near government buildings and other locations, Virginia has now banned the image of the flag on state license plates.
Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe made the declaration on June 23, less than a week after the murder of nine African-Americans attending a meeting in a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina.
More specifically, the Governor’s orders would not permit the Sons of Confederate Veterans to continue to display the image on vanity license plates or any other material that belongs to the state, Reuters reported.
Gov. McAuliffe referred to the Confederate flag as “divisive and hurtful” and asked the state’s transportation administrations to create a plan to remove all images of the flag off of current license plates, The Wall Street Journal reported.
McAuliffe also said that he wants to make it “clear that this commonwealth does not support the display of the Confederate battle flag or the message it sends to the rest of the world.” Originally, Virginia was considered a pro-slavery state during the U.S. Civil War from 1861-1865, which included other surrounding states like Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Other license plates in Virginia are now in question, as well. One vanity plate features General Robert E. Lee, who led the Confederacy in fighting the North during the war. A spokesman for the governor said that officials would discuss the other plates in the near future.
Virginia now joins a number of other states in the south that have called on removing the Confederate flag from any visible area, including near government workplaces, license plates and other areas. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, gave a press conference on June 22 publicly declaring her support for the removal of the flag from the state’s office buildings.
“Today we are here in a moment of unity in our state without ill will to say it is time to remove the flag from our capitol grounds. This flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” Gov. Haley said.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, all Republicans, have all publicly supported the removal of the flag. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican who declared his candidacy for the presidency on June 24, said he would leave the option to remove the flag for the next governor of his state.