State legislation preventing California localities from criminalizing circumcision was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, the governor's office announced Sunday.
The legislation came about following efforts by a group in San Francisco to get a measure on the city's November ballot that would ban the procedure. In July, the measure was ordered stricken from the ballot by a San Francisco Superior Court judge who said the initiative was preempted by a state law concerning medical procedures, and also endangered the free exercise clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
To prevent other municipalities from proposing similar measures, Assemblymembers Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, and Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, introduced Assembly Bill 768. The legislation, signed into law over the weekend, precludes cities and counties from prohibiting or restricting the practice of circumcision, which the law states "has a wide array of health and affiliative benefits."
The circumcision opponents in San Francisco, led by organizer Lloyd Schofield, have argued that male circumcision is similar to female circumcision practices already banned in the U.S. Schofield collected thousands of signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot before it was stricken by the judge.
Abby Michelson Porth of the Jewish Community Relations Council issued a statement today saying that Brown's signing of the law "reaffirms that municipalities cannot take away parents' rights to make medical and religious decisions for their own children."
- Bay City News Service