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Icelandic Blood Bank Sued for Discrimination

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Icelandic Blood Bank Sued for Discrimination

blodbankinn-logoÚlfar Logason, an 18-year-old student, has filed an administrative complaint to the Ministry of Welfare because of what he calls illegal regulations on blood donations. When he wanted to donate blood in February, he was sent away because of his sexual orientation.

The Blood Bank states that a man cannot donate blood if he has had sexual relations with another man. Logason demands that the ban be lifted and that an argumentation on which the regulation is based is submitted, Morgunbladid reports.

In an interview two weeks ago, Logason said: “Originally I just wanted the story reported on in the media but then I hired a lawyer who specializes in human rights.”

Logason’s lawyer, Páll Rúnar Mikael Kristjánsson, said that to his knowledge, the Blood Bank has not been sued because of these regulations before, although the Blood Bank regularly receives enquiries because of them.

The Blood Bank’s head physician, Sveinn Gudmundsson, said studies that have been conducted abroad indicate that the risk of contracting various diseases multiplies among men who have had sex with other men.

However, Kristjánsson said no such studies have been conducted in Iceland and he is of the view that they have to be conducted before such regulations are made. “It isn’t enough to state that there is a certain risk in large cities abroad and have it apply to Iceland too.” He calls for an argumentation for the regulations.

Kristjánsson reasoned Icelanders would set a good example by studying the risk factors themselves. “Each incident is supposed to be evaluated and an informed decision made on the basis of certain facts but not in a random manner so that a large group of individuals who want to perform a good deed is discriminated against.”

Logason’s complaint was filed on Thursday and it was requested that the case’s treatment be completed within 14 days.

Logason is optimistic that the regulations will be changed because of his efforts. “How many people would have thought ten years ago that homosexuals would be allowed to marry in Iceland? I’d like to believe that we will become the first country to allow this.”

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