A California judge with more than a little common sense says she won’t let a referendum in San Francisco to ban the circumcision of boys appear on a November ballot.
That will spare the city from conducting a wacky election, even by California terms.
As a result, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison said he may reconsider a bill he recently co-sponsored with California Rep. Bard Sherman aimed at protecting circumcision rights for young males.
“I’m going to talk with Brad and see what he wants to do,” Ellison said Friday. Their bill is titled the Religious and Parental Rights Act of 2011.
The San Francisco effort was driven by groups who called circumcision a barbaric practice. They said forcing infants and boys to be circumcised was tantamount to child abuse.
Jews and Muslims, who practice circumcision for religious reasons, protested and garnered wide support. Although Ellison is a Muslim, he said he objected to the referendum for other reasons.
“Who in the world does this city think it is in telling parents they can’t have their son circumcised?” Ellison said. “It’s absurd. Parents should have a fairly wide berth to raise their kids, except for cases of abuse and neglect.”
Now that’s a much more sensible approach.
In making her ruling, Judge Loretta Giorgi said the ban violated constitutional freedoms. At the same time, she acknowledged there is “legitimate debate on the benefits and harms of circumcision.”
She’s right. People have long been debating the pros and cons of circumcision for health reasons and that healthy discussion should continue.
As for Foreskin Man, the anti-Semitic cartoon used to promote the referendum? Let’s hope he gets canned, too.
Susan Hogan is a Star Tribune editorial writer.