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NEWS BRIEFS: Circumcision ban to be on San Francisco ballot

SAN FRANCISCO (BP)–San Francisco citizens will vote this November whether to ban the circumcision of male children, a first-in-the-nation type of initiative that, if passed, could be struck down in court as a violation of religious freedom.

The group behind the initiative needed 7,168 signatures and got 7,743, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. It would make it illegal to circumcise males under 18, and would punish violators with a fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail. The initiative has no religious exceptions, the Associated Press reported.

“Parents are really guardians, and guardians have to do what’s in the best interest of the child. It’s his body. It’s his choice,” initiative supporter Lloyd Schofield told AP.

Rabbi Gil Yosef Leeds of Berkeley said he has received lots of concerned phone calls from Jewish friends about the initiative. He is confident it will be struck down even if it passes.

“For a city that’s renowned for being progressive and open-minded, to even have to consider such an intolerant proposition … it sets a dangerous precedent for all cities and states,” Leeds told AP.

MINN. MARRIAGE AMENDMENT ADVANCES — A constitutional marriage amendment in Minnesota is only one step away from making it to the 2012 ballot after a House committee approved it, 13-12, Wednesday. The full House could vote on it Thursday or Friday; the Senate already approved it. Republicans control both chambers.

The amendment would define marriage as between a man and a woman. A majority of states, 29, have approved marriage amendments.
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.

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