Colorado Congressman Jared Polis is
among the lawmakers urging the FDA to reverse its ban on gay blood.
In a story
published Thursday, On Top Magazine noted a
letter written to a Health & Human Services advisory committee
considering the policy this week was signed by openly gay
representatives Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin of
Wisconsin but not Polis.
“[Illinois Representative Mike]
Quigley's office made a mistake,” Brian Branton, chief of staff for
Polis, wrote in an email.
Quigley's office admitted their
original press release incorrectly omitted Polis as a signer of the
“Mr. Polis signed the June 9th
bicameral letter to HHS,” Aviva F. Gibbs, communications director
for Congressman Quigley, said. “He was inadvertently omitted from
our press release. Once we noticed our error, we issued a
Polis also signed onto a March letter
to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging the agency to reexamine
the policy. Hamburg initially declined the call but eventually
agreed to this week's advisory panel.
“Not only was Congressman Polis an
original signer to the letter, but he also joined Congressman Quigley
on an op-ed on the subject,” Branton said.
“Congressman Polis has really been
one of the leaders on this effort,” he added.
In urging for reform, the lawmakers
argue that the ban specifically singles out gay men and is
The FDA currently imposes a lifetime
ban on men who have had a sexual relationship with another man since
1977 from donating blood. But the agency only excludes people who
have engaged in heterosexual sexual activity with a person know to
have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, for one year.
Gay rights groups say the policy
creates an unfair double standard and that it stigmatizes gay men.