Case over North’s ban on gay blood donations for UK Supreme Court

Edwin Poots won his appeal against findings that Christian beliefs affected decision

Judges in Belfast ruled that it was up to Stormont, rather than the british health secretary, to decide when gay men can give blood. Photograph: iStock/Getty

Judges in Belfast ruled that it was up to Stormont, rather than the british health secretary, to decide when gay men can give blood. Photograph: iStock/Getty

 

A gay man is to take his legal challenge to the ban on homosexual blood donations in Northern Ireland to the UK’s highest court.

Earlier this year the North’s former health minister Edwin Poots won his appeal against findings that his prohibition was irrational and infected by apparent bias.

Senior judges in Belfast also held there was no basis for concluding that the decision was predetermined by his Christian beliefs. They further ruled that it was up to Stormont, rather than the british health secretary, to decide when gay men can give blood.

But their verdict is now to be scrutinised by the Supreme Court in London.

The case is being continued by a gay man who launched proceedings against the ban on donations from men who have sex with men four years ago.

Granted anonymity in the case, his legal team returned to the Court of Appeal today seeking permission to take their case further.

Although Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan refused leave, he indicated the Supreme Court may nevertheless identify points it would want to explore. On that basis lawyers are to petition judges in London for a hearing.

A solicitor for the gay man confirmed: “We believe there are arguable points of law of general public importance which should be considered by the UK Supreme Court.

“We will be making an application directly for permission to appeal.”