San Francisco Petition Presses for Vote to Ban Circumcision

Wednesday, 27 Apr 2011 05:18 PM

By Martin Gould

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San Francisco voters could become the first in the country to get the chance to weigh in on a move to outlaw circumcision. Advocates wearing pins reading “May the foreskin be with you” presented a petition with twice the required number of signatures to the city’s Elections Department, the San Francisco Chronicle newsfeed.time.com/2011/04/27/san-francisco-may-vote-on-male-circumcision-ban/ reports.

If the city decides that the number of valid signatures makes the cut, and if the proposed bill passes legal hurdles, it will appear on the November ballot.

The Bay City measure would make it a misdemeanor to circumcise any boy younger than 18. Punishment would be up to a $1,000 fine or a year in jail.

Legal experts say it could run foul of the law because circumcision is a common religious practice among Jews and Muslims and is therefore protected under the First Amendment.

But proponents contend that the practice is harmful. "It's excruciatingly painful and permanently damaging surgery that's forced on men when they're at their weakest and most vulnerable," said Lloyd Schofield, a leading activist.

Jonathon Conte, who was circumcised as an infant and who collected 300 signatures in favor of a ban, said: "We have a lot of people in the city who believe boys deserve the same protection as girls.

"To cut any body part off somebody who can't consent to me is just madness. You wouldn't cut off an ear or a finger or a nose."


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