Gay man wins first battle for NI blood donations

High Court rules there is case for arguing that Northern Ireland ban on gay blood donations is 'irrational and unlawful'

Gay man wins first battle for NI blood donations
29 June 2012

An unidentified gay man has won the first stage of a court battle to lift an ‘irrational and unlawful’ ban on gay blood donations in Northern Ireland.

The ban, in place since the 1980s, was lifted in England, Scotland and Wales in November 2011.  But health minister, Edwin Poots, claims the outlawing of gay donations is is to ensure public safety.

However, the High Court has ruled that there is a definite case for arguing that Poots’ position is ‘irrational and unlawful’, the BBC reported, as the man pointed out that Northern Ireland incorporates blood donated from all areas of the UK, including donations by gay men and women.

Rules of the ban permit donations from men who have abstained from sex with other men for more than a year.

The anonymous man, who hasn’t been named because he is considered vulnerable, said he has abstained from sex since undergoing a religious conversion.

However, the court ruled him to be ineligible for blood donations because he hasn’t been celibate for 12 months.

Judge Mr Justice Treacy will now seek a judicial review and the hearing will continue in December.

Health minister Poots claimed he has evidence for his backing of the ban but has failed to present this. Opponents have described the ban as ‘repellent’ and ‘unscientific’.

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