It's Official: Circumcision Ban Cut From Ballot

The initiative did not offer exemptions for religious rituals such as the Jewish bris or Muslim khitan.

Thursday, Jul 28, 2011  |  Updated 6:13 PM PDT
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The common practice of circumcision would have been a crime.

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A San Francisco trial judge removed a proposed ban on male circumcision from the city's November ballot.

Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi made a tentative ruling final Thursday morning, saying that the proposed law prohibiting circumcision of male children violates a California law that makes regulating medical procedures a function of the state, not cities.

 "It serves no legitimate purpose to allow a measure  whose invalidity can be determined as a matter of law to remain on the ballot  after such a ruling has been made," Giorgi stated.

The initiative would have banned the circumcision of males younger than 18 in city and county of San Francisco. And if you were caught circumcising a child, it would have been a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine or up to a year in jail, with no exemptions for religious bounds.

During a hearing on Thursday, Michael Kinane, an attorney for the proponents, argued circumcision was not a medical procedure. He also said the ballot measure included an exception in cases where circumcision was needed for health reasons.

Giorgi was not swayed by those arguments.

San Francisco would have been the first city in the nation to hold a public vote on whether to outlaw the circumcision of minors.

Backers of the ballot measure had argued the ban was necessary to prevent a form of genital mutilation from being forced on children. Kinane pointed out Thursday that the federal government bans female circumcision.  

Critics contended the initiative posed a threat to constitutionally protected religious freedoms and cited comic books and trading cards distributed by the measure's proponents that carried images of a blonde, blue-eyed superhero and four evil Jewish characters.


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