California governor prevents ban on male circumcision

LOS ANGELES Mon Oct 3, 2011 10:27am EDT

California Governor Jerry Brown speaks after vetoing the budget passed the day before by state legislators in Los Angeles, California June 16, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

California Governor Jerry Brown speaks after vetoing the budget passed the day before by state legislators in Los Angeles, California June 16, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill preventing local authorities from banning the practice of male circumcision.

The bill, which takes effect immediately, comes in the wake of an effort by a San Francisco group opposed to male circumcision to enforce a city-wide ban of the practice in a November ballot measure.

That effort was struck down in late July by a California judge who said it would infringe on religious freedom. The measure was removed from the November ballot.

The measure, which garnered 12,000 signatures of support, would have made it a misdemeanor crime to circumcise a boy before he is 18 years old in San Francisco, regardless of the parents' religious beliefs.

A dozen petitioners sued to block the initiative at the time. A similar effort in Santa Monica, west of Los Angeles, was withdrawn.

Circumcision is a ritual obligation for infant Jewish boys and also a common rite among Muslims, who account for the largest share of circumcised men worldwide.

The move to outlaw circumcision in San Francisco raised alarm bells for Jewish groups.

In June, the Anti-Defamation League condemned a comic book created by supporters of the anti-circumcision movement that it said contained grotesque anti-Semitic imagery. The comic featured a character named "Monster Mohel" as an evil villain.

A mohel is a Jewish individual specifically trained to perform the ritual circumcision of infant boys.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)

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Comments (1)
SpaceHitler wrote:
This law is unconstitutional. It’s a violation of the Equal Protection Clause to ban all forms of female genital cutting, most of which are worse than male circumcision, by federal law without any religious exceptions, and yet deny males the same protection against unnecessary genital cutting.

Genital integrity is a human right, not a woman’s right. Parental and religious rights to not include removing parts of another person’s body without medical necessity.

Oct 04, 2011 5:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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