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Can the KKK Adopt a Highway?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on November 18, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

November is National Adoption Month. Dating couples are adopting dogs; married couples are adopting children; spinsters are taking in a few dozen more cats; and the Ku Klux Klan is trying to adopt a stretch of highway in north Georgia.

The Klan is excited about adding a one-mile span of Route 515 to its family, and filled out the proper adoption paperwork. But these things take time, and the approval of the Georgia Supreme Court.

So Much Love to Give

The International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan only wanted to shower the road with love, and give it a safe picking over. "We just want to clean up the doggone road," Klansman Harley Hanson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2012. "We're not going to be out there in robes." We're sure that the KKK would've worn appropriate attire to the festivities, but the Georgia Board of Transportation was less enthusiastic about the adoption:

"Erecting an [Adopt-A-Highway] Program sign with the KKK's name on it would have the effect of erecting a sign announcing that 'the State of Georgia has declared this area Klan Country,'" according to the state's legal brief. "Such a statement is absurd and would date this state back decades."

A Happy Home

In a time when same-sex couples have been fighting for their adoption rights, it sounds like Georgia is discriminating against groups that want to discriminate against others. This bigotry against bigots rankled the free speech feathers of the ACLU, who has joined the Klan in their adoption efforts. The group released a statement calling Georgia's attempt to block the adoption the "kind of unchecked power that erodes individual liberty guaranteed to each Georgian by the U.S. and Georgia state Constitution."

We're sure the KKK can be great parents to a needy highway. And we're sure Georgia should do what Missouri did after it failed to block a KKK highway adoption six years ago: name the highway after a rabbi who fled Nazi Germany to become a prominent civil rights scholar and advocate in the U.S.

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