UK & World News
Russian Politician Calls For Gay Blood Ban
A Russian politician has called for a ban on blood donations from gay people amid the continuing row over a ban on homosexual propaganda.
The lawmaker, who is also a candidate for Moscow mayor, said that move was necessary to combat the spread of HIV-Aids.
However, opponents say that Russia's high drug addiction rates posed a greater HIV threat.
According to Interfax news agency, Mikhail Dyegtyaryov said: "We will suggest an amendment to the law on (blood) donations on the order of the Health Ministry that returns homosexuals to the list of contra-indicated donors."
A law passed in June that prohibits spreading "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" has sparked criticism from Western governments and led to calls for a boycott of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February.
The comedian Stephen Fry has been a vocal and staunch campaigner for the boycott.
But the measure has been popular with many Russians and with the powerful Orthodox Church and President Vladimir Putin draws strong support from conservative rural parts of Russia.
Protests against his 13-year rule have mostly been confined to big cities.
Gay activists say the propaganda law has increased discrimination against them and emboldened vigilante-style attacks.
Yelena Kostyuchenko, a gay rights advocate who said she regularly gives blood, wrote on her Twitter blog on Monday that she had been asked to donate that very day.
"Next time I'll say - I'm sorry, I'm a lesbian, I don't deserve to give blood for your family members. Keep looking," she wrote.