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Ontario court upholds ban on gay blood donors

An Ontario Superior Court [official website] judge ruled Thursday that the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is justified in prohibiting sexually active gay males from donating blood. In 2002, Kyle Freeman falsely denied having had sex with other men and subsequently donated blood that tested positive for syphilis. CBS initiated a negligent misrepresentation suit against Freeman after spending $10,000 to remove blood traceable to him from the system. The ruling held that Freeman did not have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text] defense against the claim of negligence, as CBS is not a government entity. The court found the CBS ban to discriminate on the basis of health and safety considerations rather than on sexual orientation. Freeman's counterclaim was dismissed, and he was held liable for $10,000 in damages to CBS.

In July, a US government health committee recommended against lifting the US ban on homosexual blood donors. In March 2009, a Tasmanian court upheld [decision text; JURIST report] an Australian Red Cross [organization website] policy [text] to refuse blood donations from sexually active homosexual males. Petitioner Michael Cain tried to donate blood in 2004, but his offer was refused after he affirmatively answered an inquiry into whether he "had male-to-male sex" in the past 12 months. The tribunal held that Cain's complaint was unsubstantiated and that the conduct of the Red Cross did not amount to direct or indirect discrimination under the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1998 [text].

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