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Bill outlawing circumcision bans passes state legislature

by Jonah Lowenfeld

September 6, 2011 | 5:49 pm

California’s assembly approved a bill on Sept. 6 that prohibits cities and counties from enacting bans on male circumcision.

The measure, known as AB 768, was written in response to the effort to ban the practice for males under 18 in San Francisco.

Circumcision is a sacred rite for Jews and Muslims. The San Francisco ballot measure banning circumcision, which was to appear on the Nov. 2011 ballot, was dismissed in July by a judge who found that it was pre-empted by an existing state law.

The bill passed by the legislature on Sep. 6 was written by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D - Los Angeles), who was put up to the task by his former boss, Rep. Brad Sherman (D- Sherman Oaks).

“When Congressman Sherman called me, I could tell from the sound of his voice how important this was, not only to him, but to the Jewish Community,” Gatto said today in an emailed statement.

Sherman, who is Jewish, has introduced legislation at the federal level (HR 2400) that would stop states and municipalities from banning male circumcision. That bill is being considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The California bill now moves to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown.

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