BRUSSELS - Europe's top court ruled on Wednesday that banning homosexual men from giving blood may be justified where strictly necessary and only if there are no alternatives for preventing the transmission of severe infectious diseases.
A doctor in France refused a blood donation from Geoffrey Leger in 2009 on the grounds that he had had sex with another man. French law excludes blood donations from men in such cases as a measure against the spread of diseases such as HIV.
Leger challenged the decision and the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union was asked whether permanently banning people having had homosexual relations from donating blood was against EU law.
"Although the permanent deferral provided for in French law helps to minimize the risk of transmitting an infectious disease to recipients ... the principle of proportionality might not be respected," the ECJ said in a statement.
Under EU law, people who are at high risk of contracting severe infectious diseases because of their sexual behavior may be permanently banned from blood donation.