Judge tosses out San Fran's circumcision referendum

(RNS) A proposed circumcision ban will not appear on San Francisco's citywide ballot in November, a Superior Court judge tentatively ruled Wednesday (July 27).

Judge Loretta Giorgi has determined that as "a widely practiced medical procedure," circumcision cannot be banned by the city, since California law forbids municipalities from regulating medical procedures allowed by the state.

She is expected to make the ruling official July 28 at a hearing on a lawsuit against the proposal.

The proposed ban is an attempt by those who consider circumcision cruel and harmful to end the practice in the city for any male under 18.

They were led by "intactivist" Lloyd Schofield. If passed, the ban would be the first of its kind in the nation. Those who flouted the ban could be fined $1,000, jailed for a year -- or both.

Opponents, including many Jews and Muslims who practice circumcision as part of their religion, praised Giorgi's decision.

"Today's ruling is a win for religious liberty, a win for American values and a win for all San Franciscans," said Howie Beigelman of the Orthodox Union, the nation's largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella group.

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