Vet refuses to remove US Marine cap for driver’s license photo — it’s ‘religious’ attire

Yes, you can fight city hall and win, if your cause is just and your heart pure. It doesn’t hurt if you’re a Marine either.

On December 9, it was time for California resident Alex Morales, a proud U.S. Marine Corps vet, to renew his driver’s license. Everything went well until it was time to have his photo taken.

He was told he had to remove his cap, which had the letters “USMC” embroidered on the front. He told the DMV employee “no,” and pointing to several men in turbans, said, “those men didn’t remove their head wear, I shouldn’t either.”

When he was advised that the Sikhs were religious apparel, Morales said his was also. He explained that when he enlisted in the Corps he swore an oath to “one nation under God,” and that’s about as religious as one can get and that’s all there was to it.

That put the folks at the local DMV into a quandary — they just didn’t know what to do. Rules were rules, after all, but this was one stubborn-looking jarhead they were dealing with.

They finally called the head office in Sacramento, and after an hour, Morales came out the victor.

Alex’s wife, Henrietta Morales, posted their story on Facebook:

SCORED ONE FOR VETERANS!!Today Alex went to the DMV to renew his license. When he was told to go have his picture…

Posted by Henrietta Alex Morales on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Nine days later Morales received his new license, and his wife retold the story — this time with a photo of his license as proof.

SCORED ONE FOR VETERANS!!Today Alex went to the DMV to renew his license. When he was told to go have his picture taken…

Posted by Henrietta Alex Morales on Friday, December 18, 2015

Snopes was asked to look into Morales’ story, and so far it appears legitimate. Also, the “no headgear rule” isn’t absolute. They quote a Rosevill Press Tribune article:

The department prefers the removal of headgear, unless it is part of your normal identification, or is worn because of religious beliefs.

In those instances, headgear is permissible as long as the individual’s face is visible. Generally, headgear such as a baseball hat can obstruct the eyes, nose, mouth or cause dark shadows. This can result in unacceptable photographs and unnecessary return trips to our field offices.


Two rules to live by:

First, never argue with a Marine on a mission — you’re bound to get run right over if you do.

Second, it’s always good to start the New Year out with a smile. We hope this was yours.


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