At first glance, the notion of banning male circumcision in San Francisco seemed so unfathomable when it was proposed last year that even Mayor Gavin Newsom, tripped up by the notion, blurted out to reporters: "Not even Chris Daly would propose this."
But that once far-fetched, only-in-San Francisco proposal is now kinda real. Elections officials confirmed today that the measure has officially qualified for the November ballot, which means voters will decide whether it should be illegal for anyone to remove the foreskin from a male under the age of 18.
While the issue has riled up lawyers and religious leaders alike, the measure's main backer, Lloyd Schofield, insists that his only purpose is to "protect the children." And apparently there are thousands of voters out there who agree. The measure needed only 7,168 signatures to qualify for the ballot, yet it reportedly received 7,743.
But we know how easy it is to get a measure on the ballot in San Francisco. The question is how easy will it be to persuade voters to commit this outlandish proposal to law?
Without seeing any polling on the topic, Jim Ross, a local political consultant, tells SF Weekly that voters tend not to favor seemingly frivolous ballot measures -- and well, this one falls into that category.
To prove this point, Ross reminded us of the ballot measure that called for renaming one of the city's sewage treatment plants after George W. Bush -- and that failed. "If that doesn't pass with voters, this one will have a hard time passing as well," he says. "Voters will look at this and wonder why they are voting on this."
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