Opponents of a proposal to criminalize male circumcision in San Francisco filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking for the measure to be removed from the November ballot.
Proponents of the circumcision ban submitted more than 12,000 signatures to the city’s Department of Elections in April to get the measure on the ballot. It needed a minimum of 7,168 to qualify.
The organizer of the campaign, Lloyd Schofield, has said he believes male circumcision is wrong and likened it to female circumcision practices that are already banned in the U.S.
The proposal would punish people who circumcise a minor with a fine of up to $1,000 or up to a year in jail.
Religious and community groups and various doctors joined together to file the lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court today.
The lawsuit is calling on the state’s Department of Elections to remove the proposition from the ballot on the grounds that San Francisco would have no power to enact the ordinance since only the state can make rules about medical procedures, according to Abby Michelson Porth of the Jewish Community Relations Council, one of the groups filing the suit.
“Physicians are concerned this measure would make them criminals” for performing procedures that “patients request and consent to,” Michelson Porth said.
The opponents of the ban, which also include the Anti-Defamation League, say along with the protections under state law, the decision to circumcise boys for religious reasons is also protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The opponents are asking for a hearing on the case to be held relatively soon, on July 15, since the city’s Department of Elections has to begin preparations for putting measures on the ballot in August.
“Our intention is to have this resolved before that happens,” Michelson Porth said.
More information from opponents of the ban is available at www.stopcircban.com.
Proponents have set up their own website about the ban, which can be found at sfmgmbill.org.
Schofield was not immediately available for comment today on the lawsuit, but in reference to the suit, a post on the official Facebook page for the ban’s proponents said, “Our opponents will do everything to avoid admitting that forcing genital mutilation on another human being is not morally, ethically or legally right.”
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News