Main | Friday, July 08, 2011

SF City Attorney: Proposed Circumcision Ban Is Unconstitutional As Written

San Francisco's city attorney has publicly responded to a lawsuit intended to cancel a pending ballot initiative that would make it a crime to circumcise a person under 18 years old.
The city of San Francisco weighed in for the first time Thursday on a local ballot measure that would ban the circumcision of male children, arguing that the proposed law would be unconstitutional if it applies to Jewish mohels but not pediatricians and other doctors. The city attorney's office made the argument in response to a lawsuit by a coalition of Jews and Muslims that has asked a California court to remove the initiative from the Nov. 8 ballot. The lawsuit, which names the city and the anti-circumcision activist who qualified the measure, argues that state law bars local governments from restricting medical procedures. But if a judge accepts that reasoning and excludes only physicians from the ban, the measure would target only religious faiths that practice circumcision and would therefore run afoul of the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom, lawyers for the city wrote in court papers.

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