Man fights law banning blood donations by homosexuals
Shane Hampton protesting on Thursday.
MIDLAND COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -
A local man protested a blood drive being held at an area church. But his gripe isn't with the church or the blood drive - he's challenging a federal policy that prohibits sexually active gay men from donating blood.
"I do not feel a part of everybody else in the community that's coming here to give blood," said Shane Hampton.
Hampton, who is gay, wants the chance to donate his blood. Being gay doesn't prevent him from taking part in the potentially lifesaving act, but since he is sexually active with other men, he is not allowed by law to give blood, according to federal law.
"Let gays give blood!" yelled Hampton from the side of the road in front of Messiah Lutheran Church in Midland County on Thursday afternoon.
Hampton says he's trying to change that federal law by drawing attention to his cause and conducting a one-man informational picket at a blood organized by Michigan Blood.
He's hoping to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to change their policy against allowing sexually active gay men to give blood.
"When they say I can't just because I choose to love differently than a straight person does, it makes no sense to me," said Hampton. "It's an out-dated law."
Hampton tells TV5 that he wants it made very clear that he is not protesting Messiah Lutheran Church or Michigan Blood.
"It wouldn't matter where the blood drive was," Hampton said. "It could be anywhere in Midland or the Tri-cities area and I would [protest]."
According to the FDA website, sexually active gay men are at a higher risk for HIV infections.
That website states that in 2010, sexually active gay men made up two percent of the entire U.S. population, but accounted for 61 percent of all new HIV infections.
Hampton admits the numbers don't look good, but he says those figures shouldn't be used to single people like him out.
"While the statistics are high, you know, higher in gay men having HIV, I don't [have HIV]," said Hampton. "And there are a lot of gay men that practice safe sex that are not infected that have good blood that would be going to save people's lives."
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