ACLU Joins the Fight Against the Circumcision Ban
Today, the organization's Northern California branch joined the Jewish Community Relations Council by filing an amicus curiae brief that urges the California Superior Court to strike down the measure and keep it off the November ballot.
Our only question is: What took the civil liberties group so long to jump on this one?
The JCRC filed its lawsuit against San Francisco's Elections Chief John Arntz last month and argued that the measure was invalid on the basis that California law prohibits local governments from banning medical procedures. City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed his own brief recently, saying the ban is unconstitutional and anti-Semitic.
The ACLU concurred, and also added that a circumcision ban discriminates against San Francisco's Jewish and Muslim residents, for whom circumcision is a common religious practice. But the ACLU says the measure raises questions about parental rights and the rights of teenage boys to make their own medical decisions.
"This is an attempt to criminalize a practice that is a fundamental religious ritual both for Jews and for Muslims," says Ethan Schulman, an attorney representing ACLU.
Matt Hess, who wrote the measure, told SF Weekly last month that his intention was to stop "male genital mutilation" -- not discriminate against any religious group.
Schulman says he expects Judge Loretta M. Giorgi to make a swift ruling against the ban when the case goes before her on July 28.
"But you never know," he adds, laughing.