OK for Gay Men to Donate Blood in U.K.
The United Kingdom has lifted the lifetime ban against gay men donating blood, however restrictions still apply. Beginning in November, gay and bisexual men will be permitted to donate blood, provided they have not engaged in any sexual contact with another male for 12 months. Peter Tatchell, director of the human rights advocacy organization, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, feels the 12-month ban is “excessive and unjustified.”
“I have been campaigning for 20 years for an evidence-based policy which protects the blood supply while not needlessly discriminating against men who’ve had sex with men,” Tatchell said in a press release.
Tachell argues that rather than exclude men who engage in safe sex, the focus should be on educating those who don’t.
“Reducing the exclusion period for blood donations from gay and bisexual men should go hand-in-hand with a ‘Safe Blood’ education campaign targeted at the gay community, to ensure that no one donates blood if they are at risk of HIV and other blood-borne infections due to unsafe sexual behavior,” he said.
Marriage Equality Likely in Scotland
The Scottish government is considering a consultation on marriage equality. While civil unions for same-sex couples is already
recognized law in Scotland, civil ceremonies are not permitted to include any religious elements. The Scottish National Party, which currently has the majority in Parliament, has spoken out in favor of marriage equality.
“We tend towards the view that religious ceremonies for civil partnerships should no longer be prohibited and that same sex marriage should be introduced so that same sex couples have the option of getting married if that is how they wish to demonstrate their commitment to each other,” said Nicola Sturgeon, deputy first minister, in a statement to Pink News.
If the consultation is passed, Scotland will be the first country in the United Kingdom to allow same-sex couples to marry.