Judge moves to strike circumcision ban from S.F. ballot

Ruling comes in response to lawsuit filed last month which argued that state law bars municipalities from banning legitimate medical practices.

July 28, 2011 18:15
1 minute read.
A circumcision ceremony in Bnei Brak

circumcision brit mila 311 R. (photo credit: Gil Cohen Magen / Reuters)

A San Francisco Superior Court judge tentatively ruled that an initiative banning circumcisions for anyone under 18 be removed from the November ballot.

Wednesday's ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed last month, which argued that state law bars municipalities from banning legitimate medical practices.

Proposed San Francisco circumcision ban is challenged

In her ruling, the Bay Area newspaper j. reported, Judge Loretta Giorgi argued that the proposed ballot initiative is “expressly pre-empted” by state law because the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that “circumcision is a widely practiced medical procedure.”

“Moreover,” she added, “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.”

The judge is expected to make an official ruling at a July 28 hearing, which is expected to include oral arguments from Lloyd Schofield, the anti-circumcision activist spearheading the initiative.

“We appreciate Judge Giorgi’s careful review of the proposed measure, and her willingness to put a stop to this extreme, hurtful measure,” said Abby Michelson Porth, the associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council - one of several plaintiffs in the suit -- in an interview with the j.

“There is no place on the ballot for a measure that contradicts California law and would put doctors in jail for performing a procedure with known health benefits and a religious purpose. The court ruling is an affirmation of the values of parental choice and religious freedom.”

Porth added that she expected proponents of the measure to file an appeal, and that the Superior Court ruling would not automatically remove the measure from the ballot.

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