Lifetime gay blood ban not justifiable, says Europe Court of Justice Advocate General

A lifetime ban remains in France Get the latest LGBT headlines in your inbox with our free daily newsletter! Join Topics HIVgay menBisexual menmen who have sex with mengay and bisexual menMSMbloodgay blood banblood donationEuropean Court of Justiceblood donation restrictionsblood donation banblood donation rules Share on WhatsApp 0 reader comments

A lifetime ban preventing French gay men from donating blood is not justifiable, says the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice.

On Thursday, ECJ Advocate General Mengozzi declared that a sexual relationship between two men does not in itself constitute conduct that justifies permanent exclusion from giving blood.

The Advocate General was commenting on the case of Geoffrey Léger, a gay Frenchman who was prevented from giving blood in 2009 by the country’s blood agency.

Mr Mengozzi said France’s current policy was too broad and generic. It needed to take account of individual sexual behaviour, and not simply sexual orientation, the Advocate General warned.

Mr Mengozzi’s legal opinion stated: “By definitively excluding every man who has had, or has, sexual relations with another man from giving blood, the French legislation introduces obvious indirect discrimination on the combined bases of gender (men) and of sexual orientation (homosexuality and bisexuality).”

The Advocate General also pointed out the inconsistency of French law: for example, there is no specific donation ban on a woman whose partner has sexual relations with other men.

Moreover, a person whose partner is HIV positive is subject only to a temporary ban of four months, although, in such a case, the risk of exposure is real.

Heterosexuals who engage in frequent unprotected sex are also not subjected to the same policy as men who have sex with men (MSM).

The ECJ will now consider Mr Mengozzi’s opinion in relation to the case of Mr Léger. Judgment will be given at a later date.

A report commissioned last year by the French Government stated that prohibiting gay donors is now unnecessary because all donated blood is effectively screened for HIV.

In 2011, England, Wales and Scotland introduced a 12-month deferral for gay and bisexual men who wish to donate blood.

A lifetime ban remains in place in Northern Ireland – due to the insistence of Democratic Unionist Party Health Minister Edwin Poots.

The 12-month deferral for England, Wales and Scotland was chosen in part because of Hepatitis B, which disproportionately affects gay and bisexual men. While there is a four-week window between transmission and detection of HIV, Hepatitis B can take up to a year to be cleared by the body.

The South African Government in May replaced a six-month automatic deferral for gay and bisexual men with a new policy.

Under the new rules, all people

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European Court of Human Rights confirms forced divorce of trans people is legal

Campaigners have expressed their dismay over the ruling Get the latest LGBT headlines in your inbox with our free daily newsletter! Join Topics equal marriagegay marriagemarriage equalitysame sex marriagemarriagegay weddingSame-sex weddingweddinglesbian weddinglesbian marriageCivil partnershipsTranseuropean court of human rightstrans communitytrans discriminationeuropean convention on human rightsEuropean Courttrans people Share on WhatsApp 2 reader comments

Married trans people living in countries without same-sex marriage must divorce if they want their new gender recognised, European judges have ruled.

On Wednesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) declared the divorce requirement for married people who wish to change their legal gender does not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

Judges in Strasbourg presided over the case of Finnish national Ms Hämäläinen, who was born male and married to a woman. After undergoing gender confirmation surgery in 1996, she wished to bring her official documents in line with her new gender.

However, the local registry office refused to register her as female, unless her wife consented to the marriage being turned into a civil partnership

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Nick Clegg: Tories are ‘lining up with Putin’ over European Court power curb

Nick Clegg: ‘I think the head bangers have now won’ Get the latest LGBT headlines in your inbox with our free daily newsletter! Join Topics David CameronLGBT rightsConservative PartycourtNick Cleggsupreme courthuman rightstorieseuropean court of human rightsliberal democrat leaderPrime Minister David CameronDeputy Prime Minister Nick CleggLib Dem leaderjudgescourtsEuropean Court Share on WhatsApp 0 reader comments

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has launched an attack on Conservative plans to limit the power of the European Court of Human Rights.

The Liberal Democrat leader accused David Cameron of lining up “with Vladimir Putin and other tyrants around the world by tearing up our long tradition of human rights”.

Under the Conservative proposals, the UK Parliament will decide what constitutes a breach of human rights.

But Labour and the Liberal Democrats say the move puts Britain’s reputation at risk.

It’s understood former Attorney General Dominic Grieve warned against the idea – ahead of his sacking in this week’s reshuffle.

Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan has called on the government to publish Mr Grieve’s advice.

Nick Clegg told LBC: “I think the head bangers have now won. They are now saying, in effect, that the Conservative Party are turning their back on a long British tradition of upholding human rights across the world.

“What on earth are we going to say to the dictators in Belarus, to Vladimir Putin, if we do as the Conservatives now appear to recommend, which is to basically say we are going to stamp our little feet and not abide by binding, international human rights practices and conventions?”

In recent years, Conservative critics have accused the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) of overreaching its jurisdiction, particularly when it comes to the deportation of foreign criminals such as radical cleric Abu Qatada.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told BBC Radio 4′s The World at One: “We will produce our full package in due course but ahead of the election and in time for our election manifesto.

“We will curtail the role of the European Convention on Human Rights in the UK. We will replace Labour’s Human Rights Act (enshrining the convention in British law).

“We will have a balance of rights and responsibilities in our law, which I think is very important, and we will have a Supreme Court that is supreme. That gives a very clear sense of direction, of the big change which is what I think we need.”

The ECtHR has played a key role in underpinning Britain’s equality laws.

Successive governments have complied with its rulings on a whole host of landmark LGBT cases.

Rulings include: overturning the ban on same-sex acts in Northern Ireland; abolishing the ban on gay people serving in the military; ensuring protection against homophobic and transphobic discrimination in the work place, and pension rights for trans people.

Juris Lavrikovs, from LGBT campaign group ILGA-Europe, defended the court’s role in an article for PinkNews last month.

Yesterday, the ECtHR disappointed trans campaigners by ruling that married trans people living in countries without same-sex marriage must divorce if they want their new gender recognised.

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US: Utah asks for US Supreme Court to block ruling to recognise same-sex marriages

The letter was sent by Governor Gary Herbert Share on WhatsApp 0 reader comments

The US state of Utah has asked the US Supreme Court in an emergency appeal to block a ruling instructing the state to recognise the marraiges of hundreds of same-sex couples in the state.

Over 1000 gay couples married in the state, where same-sex marriage was legalised for 17 days after a judge ruled in December that the state’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.

However, on January 6, the US Supreme Court stayed the ruling, putting the marriage ban back in place and causing some to doubt the legality of the marriages.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that the state must begin to recognise those marriages, despite the ongoing battle over marriage equality.

On Wednesday state officials filed the emergency appeal, asking the US Supreme Court to block the ruling by the appeals court, saying recognising those marriages would be too disruptive.

The appeal was addressed to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and was sent by Governor Gary Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes.

It said ordering the state to recognise the marriages was “premature and unwarranted.”

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Chris Kluwe threatens to take Vikings to court, after refusal to release report into homophobia

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Outspoken advocate of gay rights and retired NFL star, Chris Kluwe, will take his former team to court, after it reneged on promises to release the findings of an investigation into whether his dismissal last year was due to his support for the LGBT community.

Kluwe starred as a punter for the Minnesota Vikings from 2005 to 2012. He is an outspoken advocate of gay rights and particularly of gay marriage, and has previously stated that he supports the gay community simply because

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US: Colorado Attorney General asks state Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriages

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers is asking the state Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriages Share on WhatsApp 3 reader comments

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has asked the Colorado Supreme Court to stop same-sex marriages in the state until they rule on his appeal of a lower court’s ruling that found Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

District Judge C. Scott Crabtree overturned Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban last week, but immediately put his own ruling on hold until it is backed-up by a court with greater authority. 

A judge also ruled last week in a lawsuit Suthers brought against Hillary Hall, a rouge Boulder county clerk who has been issuing same-sex marriage licenses, that Hall had the right to issue the licenses for the time being.

In response to these rulings, Suthers is asking the state Supreme Court to halt the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses until they review Crabtree’s ruling, which would help decide whether to lift Crabtree’s self-imposed hold on his own decision.

After asking the state Supreme Court to rule, Suther’s said:

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