December 29, 2015 at 3:58 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
O’Malley, Clinton decry FDA’s new gay blood ban

Martin O'Malley, gay news, Washington Blade

Martin and Katie O’Malley has said the FDA’s new gay blood ban is “discriminatory.” (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley are among those criticizing the Obama administration’s recent change on the lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men in favor a relaxed policy requiring one year of abstinence.

On the day the Food & Drug Administration announced last week the rule making the change was final, O’Malley via Twitter became the first 2016 presidential candidate to say the new policy doesn’t go far enough, calling it “discriminatory.”

Clinton made no similar criticism on Twitter account (although in the same week she tweeted in favor of LGBT adoption and against anti-transgender violence).

Xochitl Hinojosa, a Clinton spokesperson, confirmed to the Washington Blade days after the FDA announcement the candidate wants to change the new policy to one based on individual risk.

“Hillary Clinton believes we need to get to a scientifically-grounded, risk-based policy,” Hinojosa said. “She would like to see an approach that protects public health while treating people as individuals, not as a group.”

The Bernard Sanders campaign didn’t respond to repeated requests to comment on the new blood policy. The Blade could find nothing on his Twitter account on the change.

The Vermont senator was among 81 lawmakers who in July signed a letter led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) urging the FDA to declare the new policy a transitionary step that would lead to a policy based on individual risk.

The FDA insists the requirement for one year of abstinence is based on science, but LGBT advocates say the policy is discrimination against gay and bisexual men and unnecessary given current testing procedures.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • His name is Bernie Sanders, not Bernard. Do news sites not have editors anymore or something?

    • Bernard is the name given to him by his parents. Bernie is the name he uses. Bernard is the name on his birth certificate.

      Two of my aunts (twins) were named Rebecca and Elizabeth at birth. All the nieces and nephews knew them as aunt Becky and aunt Betty. Even their parents called them Becky and Betty, not the names they were given at birth.

      An uncle and an aunt (also twins) were named Delta and Alta at birth. All the nieces and nephews knew them as uncle Ding and aunt Moss (long story for each – don’t ask). Even their parents called them Ding and Moss, not the names they were given at birth.

      The name given to me by my parents was Michael, and it is “Michael’ on my birth certificate. I go by the name ‘Mike’.

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