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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Circumcision Ban Cut from the Ballot

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 12:30 PM

"Intactivist" David Pinckney
  • "Intactivist" David Pinckney
The city's controversial circumcision ban was officially snipped from the November ballot after Judge Loretta Giorgi ruled this morning that the measure would violate state law that prevents cities and counties from regulating medical services -- when they are a matter of statewide concern.

Oral arguments were heard this morning at the San Francisco Superior Court, since bill proponent Lloyd Schofield filed an opposition to Giorgi's tentative ruling yesterday. Giorgi clearly anticipate heightened emotions as she reminded both sides this morning: "The issue for debate today is not the pros and cons of the circumcision procedure. What's before us today is solely issue of whether the proposed city ballot measure is preempted by state law."

Attorney Michael Kinane, speaking on behalf Schofield, argued that the measure would be equivalent to state laws which ban female circumcision. He pointed out that state laws have neither supported nor banned male circumcision. "San Francisco needs to protect our babies," Kinane said. But Giorgi concluded that Kinane's arguments only reinforced her decision.

Meanwhile, outside the courthouse, Bay Area "Intactivists" displayed signs such as "10 out of 10 babies oppose circumcision" and "Circumcisers are child mutilating rapists." 

David Pinckney, who was outside the courthouse today, said he knew that Giorgi was not going to change her mind, but he hopes to popularize the cause by bringing it to the public's attention. When asked how people had been responding to his signs, he said: "Unfortunately, most people don't really care."

Matt Hess, executive director of the Male Genital Mutilation, told SF Weekly yesterday that his organization plans to appeal today's decision. So we guess it's fair to assume we've not entirely nipped this one in the bud.

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Caroline Chen


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