Judge tosses out San Fran's circumcision referendum

July 28, 2011

(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.