By Corrie MacLaggan
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas Governor Rick Perry said this week that he does not support a Confederate flag license plate being considered in the Lone Star State.
"We don't need to be scraping old wounds," Perry said, according to the St. Petersburg Times in Florida.
Perry's office confirmed on Wednesday that the Republican presidential candidate is not in favor of the plates being considered by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board.
"The governor believes the decision is up to the DMV board, but he does not support the license plate," Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed told Reuters. "That is his personal position."
The Florida newspaper also reported Perry said in an interview that he has "no doubt" that President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen.
Perry had earlier told Parade magazine he "has no reason to think" the president wasn't born in the United States. But when Parade pointed out that wasn't definitive, Perry responded: "Well, I don't have a definitive answer, because he's never seen my birth certificate."
The proposed Confederate flag license plate has been criticized by the NAACP and by state lawmakers including Democratic Representative Garnet Coleman of Houston.
The flag "remains an offensive symbol to me and my constituents, one that harkens back to a time in American history when bigotry and enslavement were intertwined in our national identity," Coleman said in an October 21 letter to the DMV board.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans requested the plate.
"This is not about slavery. This is not about race," Granvel Block, Texas division commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans told Reuters in August.
"Our intention is to honor and acknowledge the pride that we have in our ancestors, and in our organization as well."
Matt Glazer, the executive director of Progress Texas, which had gathered petitions opposing the plates, said in a statement on Wednesday that the group was pleased with Perry's stance and hoped he would make sure the DMV board members "vote down the state sanctioned use of this racist relic."
(Editing by Jerry Norton)
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