An openly gay mayor in California is calling for the American Red Cross to end its ban on gay blood donors, saying the 30-year old ban is discriminatory.
George Kiriyama reports.
Campbell Mayor Evan Low walked into a blood drive.
"Please read this chart," Low stated.
Hoping to donate but..
"I was screened to see if I was a capable candidate to donate blood and after some of the questions including that if you have had sexual contact with another male I was deferred."
Deferred or banned from giving blood because he's gay.
"I am disappointed that I am not able to donate blood. Certainly the criteria that was determined to figure out whether or not I would be an eligible candidate is faulty."
The FDA. has imposed a lifetime ban on gay donors since 1983 in response to the AIDS scare.
Mayor Low calls it discrimination.
"If you are heterosexual and engage in promiscuous activity, you can still donate blood."
In response, the America Red Cross says it is just following the FDA's lead.
The Red Cross says there are other ways the gay community can support blood donation.
"But it is good to see that someone who realizes they can still support the community blood supply by sponsoring a blood drive. Blood donors are very important, but so are blood drive sponsors."
The Red Cross says there are many people who are rejected from giving blood for various reasons.
"There are travel restrictions. There are medication deferrals, low iron deferrals."
Combine that with the low number of donors and that's why the Red Cross says it has a shortage.
But Alexandra Belter says that's even more of a reason to lift the ban on gay men.
"I think if you can answer the questions and the Red Cross and other agencies do their job in checking the blood than there shouldn't be any reason that people of different lifestyles shouldn't be able to donate."