A public development of my political and philosophical musings. Occasional thoughts on current events. Primarily for personal satisfaction.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Lately I’ve been in a battle with Eugene Volokh (well, I’ve been in a battle with him, he probably doesn’t know I’m alive) over the reach of gay rights. He’s generally supportive but, in my opinion, far too accommodating to those who are not supportive. For instance, a couple weeks ago, he argued that it is legitimate to oppose gay marriage because one man and one woman have the potential to be better parents than two men or two women. I emailed him and pointed out that, while this may be true, child rearing is irrelevant to marriage and therefore, the argument is not rational (I found it curious that he recognized that this argument, even if true, says nothing about the merits of any particular couple, and yet he did not recognize that this invalidates the argument, nor did he argue for a “parent IQ” test prior to marriage).

Volokh didn’t respond to my email. That doesn’t bother me too much since he probably has a lot of email to deal with—what with him having actual readers and all (a problem with which I am not burdened).

Now, he’s insulting students at Western Oregon University for rallying against the Red Cross, who refuses to take blood donations from men who have had sex with other men. See, the Red Cross has these “donorability” requirements to help them decide whose blood to take. Among other restrictions, if you have had heterosexual sex with someone who tested positive for HIV, then you can’t donate for 12 months. If you have had homosexual sex with a man after 1977, then you can’t donate ever.

Is it folly to have a problem with this? If you know to a certainty that you have been exposed to HIV, but the exposure was through heterosexual sex, you can’t donate for 12 months. If you know to a certainty that you have never been exposed to HIV, but you are a man who has had sex with a man, even once, in the past 27 years, you are banned from donating for life.

Now I’m not sure I’d call this discrimination (but what other word would you use?) and I don’t think boycotting the Red Cross is the right approach, but I certainly get annoyed when I see the poster of infants over the caption “One in four may not get the blood they need” and know that that’s partly because of the homophobia of the Red Cross.

This policy may have made sense 15 or 20 years ago, but today it’s discrimination (for lack of a better word) that kills people—and the Red Cross shares the blame for those deaths.

This is perfectly reasonable to complain about.
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