Thanks to a state legislator from Silver Lake, certain groups will not have to worry about male circumcisions being banned in Santa Monica.
Almost four months after a San Diego-based group filed paperwork in Santa Monica City Clerk’s office to place a measure on the ballot banning male circumcision, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law on Oct. 2 that prohibits any and all local bans on male circumcisions.
Accordingly, local municipalities across California cannot regulate the practice commonly associated with Judaism and Islam.
“I hope that it is the last we hear of the issue, which would have been a serious intrusion on parental rights and religious freedom,” Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom told The Mirror. “The anti-Semitic overtones serve as a reminder that we need to be ever-vigilant. I am happy that I was able to play a small role in helping to prevent a travesty.”
Sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D- Silver Lake), Assembly Bill AB 768 made its way to the governor’s desk in light of a recent push in San Francisco, where, similar to Santa Monica, proponents of a circumcision ban were seeking a ballot measure making male circumcisions in that city illegal unless medically necessary.
While the new state law brings about some level of closure to the issue, proponents are not necessarily packing up their bags and leaving town.
“Our next effort to protect boys from forced circumcision will be in early 2012 when we formally resubmit our state and federal MGM Bill proposals in an effort to find one or more state or Congressional sponsors,” Matthew Hess, president of MGMBill.org – MGM stands for Male Genital Mutilation – told The Mirror.
He added that the new law was, on its face, “gender discrimination.”
“With the enactment of AB 768, California now has one state law that protects girls from genital cutting and another state law that prevents cities from providing the very same protection for boys,” Hess said. “That is clear gender discrimination, which is illegal under both the California and U.S. Constitutions.”
Brown signed AB 768 on Sunday as part of a package of 44 measures that came across his desk last weekend; of the 44 bills, Brown vetoed four.
On June 7, MGMBill.org’s leading advocate in favor of banning circumcisions, Jena Troutman, had withdrawn filed paperwork that would have given Santa Monica voters an opportunity to vote on the issue by 2012.
The proposed ballot measure would have banned circumcisions in the city for anyone under the age of 18. It also called for jail time and/or an imposition of a $1,000 fine upon would-be violators.
A similar measure was en route to being placed on next month’s ballot in San Francisco; however, a Northern California judge blocked the proposed initiative in July after several religious and medical groups sued the anti-circumcision proponents.
According to a study published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there is apparently a significant drop in performed circumcisions across the United States. The CDC reportedly researched more than 6.5 million boys and found about 33 percent had an infant circumcision in 2009, a significant drop from the 56 percent mark the center reported in 2006.