Strained but true – it’s head legal

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Published: Tuesday 18th November 2014 by The News Editor

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You might think transport staff would apply the brakes if you turned up with a driving licence photo of you with a colander on your head.

But Asia Lemmon said faces drained only briefly when she presented the photo to Utah authorities – they had to spray by the rules because the headgear is a religious statement.

Ms Lemmon, whose legal name appears on her driving licence as Jessica Steinhauser, says the pasta strainer represents her beliefs in the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster movement, also known as “Pastafarianism”, started in 2005 as a protest against teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in Kansas schools.

When she had the photo taken on September 29, Ms Lemmon said she was not sure if staff at the Division of Motor Vehicles office in Hurricane would allow her to wear the headgear, but “it was surprisingly really, really easy”.

Nannette Rolfe, director of Utah’s Driver Licence Division, said about a dozen Pastafarians have had their state driving licence photos taken with a similar colander or pasta strainer on their heads in recent years.

“As long as we can get a visual of the face, we’re fine if they choose to wear the headgear,” she said.

Hats and headgear are not allowed for driving license photos unless they are religious garments, Ms Rolfe says. After the first few Pastafarians came in about two years ago, state officials determined the church was a recognised religion and its members did not require any special paperwork.

Ms Lemmon, from St George, is a former porn star who performed under the name Asia Carrera, The Spectrum of St George reported.

She said she wanted to make a statement with the photo.

“I’m a really proud, outspoken atheist,” she said. “I am proud of Utah for allowing freedom of all religions in what is considered by many to be a one-religion state.”

About two thirds of the state’s residents are Mormons and Utah is home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Ms Lemmon said that even though Utah was a conservative state, everyone respected her religious views.

Published: Tuesday 18th November 2014 by The News Editor

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