Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley, a Democrat, on Thursday called on House colleagues to support Friday's National Gay Blood Drive.

The drive, which is happening in 61 cities across America, highlights the FDA's lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood. Gay and bisexual men are encouraged to bring straight surrogates to donate blood on their behalf.

“I rise today in strong support of the National Gay Blood Drive, because I know that being gay does not implicitly make someone an unsafe blood donor,” Quigley said on the House floor. “Our current FDA policy paints all gay and bisexual men with the same brush, banning them for life based solely on orientation instead of focusing on actual risky behavior.”

“Implemented in 1983 during the height of the HIV crisis, the outdated policy is based on unjustifiable fear and bigotry instead of science and facts. But it's 2014. We have advanced blood screening and know much more about how HIV is transmitted, so we need a revised policy to match. A revision blood donating agencies support.”

For a list of participating donation sites please visit