A gay man in the US state of Virginia who was told to remove his car licence plates because they spell out the word ‘poofter’ has now been told he can keep them.

David Phillips has had the plates for eleven years. He previously claimed that the word is only offensive to English people and Virginians would not understand its meaning.

According to the Washington Post, he first heard the word used by performer Boy George in a TV interview and liked it.

“It’s just an amusing word that I self-identify with,” he told the Post.

Earlier this month the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles ordered Mr Phillips to remove the poofter plates because they deemed them to be offensive.

However, Mr Phillips told blog Pam’s House Blender that the DMV phoned him and conceded that he could keep using the plates.

In correspondence he asserted his First Amendment right to free speech and to “self-identify in terms that meets no reasonable test for obscenity.”

He wants an apology from the Virgina DMV.

Mr Phillips has claimed that he had a sexual encounter with disgraced Senator Larry Craig several years ago.

In April 2006 PinkNews.co.uk reported that a homophobic numberplate had been withdrawn by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) after complaints by a leading gay MP.

Chris Byrant felt that plate H8 GAY was offensive to gay people