SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A Utah woman says she encountered only brief resistance when she recently had her driver’s license photo taken while wearing a colander on her head as a religious statement.
Asia Lemmon, whose legal name appears on her driver’s license as Jessica Steinhauser, said 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 Sept. 29, Lemmon said she wasn’t sure if officials 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, the director of Utah’s Driver License Division, said about a dozen Pastafarians have had their state driver’s license 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 driver’s license photos unless they’re religious garments, Rolfe said. After the first few Pastafarians came in about two years ago, state officials determined the church is a recognized religion and its members don’t require any special paperwork, she said.
Lemmon, a St. George resident, is a former porn star who performed under the name Asia Carrera, The Spectrum of St. George reported Monday.
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.
Lemmon said even though Utah is a conservative state, everyone has been respectful of her religious views.
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