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San Francisco circumcision ban likely for November ballot

JTA

April 28, 2011 | 3:23 pm

A proposal to ban circumcision in San Francisco looks likely for the November ballot.

A group opposed to male circumcision told Reuters that it had collected more than enough signatures on petitions to qualify their proposal for the Nov. 8 vote this fall.

The measure, which would apply only in the city of San Francisco, would make it a misdemeanor crime to circumcise a boy before he is 18 years old. The maximum penalty would be a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Circumcisions would be permitted only for medical reasons.

On Tuesday, the group submitted 12,000 signatures for verification to the city’s elections department. If 7,200 of them are valid, the proposal goes on the ballot.

Legal experts told reporters that even if the measure passes in November, it would be challenged as a constitutional violation of freedom of religion. Both the Anti-Defamation League and the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council have come out against the proposal. Abby Michaelson-Porth, associate director of the JCRC, told reporters that if the proposal makes it to the ballot, “there will be an organized campaign against it.”

Jewish boys traditionally are circumcised at eight days of age and Muslims at some time during boyhood.

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