A Canadian man is arguing in court for his vanity license plate “GRABHER” to be reinstated on his vehicle. The name was considered offensive by the Nova Scotia Registrar of Motor Vehicles after over 25 years of use.
Late last month, another Canadian man had his Star Trek-themed license plate revoked for offensiveness.
Lorne Grabher’s plight went international after the license plate was banned following the leak of Donald Trump’s 2005 “grab her by the pussy” comment. during the 2016 presidential election.
Speaking for Grabher, Canada’s Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms argues that the removal of the plate violates his right to free expression. At least one person complained about it, per the Toronto Sun.
The court filings by Grabher’s lawyers state that his family name is a “point of pride” because of its Austrian-German roots. His adult son uses a similar personalized plate in the Canadian state of Alberta without problems. He told the court that he first registered the name for his license plate over two decades ago as a gift for his late father’s birthday.
“Grabher and his family were, and remain, deeply offended and humiliated by the cancellation of the plate,” the filing reads. “(It) not only infringed Mr. Grabher’s right to express himself through the plate, but discriminated against Mr. Grabher.”
However, the Transportation Department in Nova Scotia says that while they understand the roots of his surname, members of the public may not understand its context. Additionally, they received a complaint from a woman in October 2016 (when Trump’s comments were leaked). The complaint described the plate as misogynistic.
Nova Scotia’s personalized plates first became available in 1989, and allows the Canadian province to refuse any names it deems offensive or socially unacceptable, like slurs and racial epithets.