Virginia governor orders Confederate flag removed from state license plates

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RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is moving to have the Confederate flag banished from state license plates.

McAuliffe said Tuesday that he’s asked the state attorney general to take steps to reverse a 2002 federal court decision that said Virginia could not block the Confederate Veterans from displaying its logo — which includes the Confederate flag — on state license plates.

He said in a statement, “These steps will, I hope, make 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.”

In the wake of a massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, a bipartisan mix of officials across Southern states are calling for the removal of Confederate flags and other symbols of the Confederacy.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday that the Confederate flag should be removed from the Statehouse grounds, reversing her position on the divisive symbol. Legislative leaders — Republican and Democrat, black and white — joined her for the announcement.

Similarly, Mississippi Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn said Monday that the Confederate battle emblem is offensive and needs to be removed from the state flag. He said in a statement that remembering the past is important, “but that does not mean we must let it define us.”

Mississippi voters decided by a 2-to-1 margin in 2001 to keep the state flag, which has a Confederate battle emblem in one of its corners.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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