New Lawsuit Claims SF Circumcision Ballot Initiative is Unconstitutional
San Francisco’s proposed ballot ban on circumcision would be “patently” unconstitutional and should be stricken from the ballot if a court exempts medical professionals from the ban, the city attorney’s office said Thursday.
In a brief filed in San Francisco County Superior Court Thursday afternoon, the city builds on an earlier suit filed by Jewish and Muslim groups. That suit says that only the state - not a city - can regulate the actions of medical professionals.
If that is true and the ballot initiative is approved by voters in November, the city would be preventing only religious figures, like Jewish mohels who are not necessarily medical professionals, from freely exercising their religion, the city said.
“It is abundantly clear that the measure will be unconstitutional if narrowly applied to religious practices,” said Therese Stewart, chief deputy city attorney.
Asserting that a ballot initiative is unconstitutional before it has been considered by voters is a highly unusual move. But Stewart said campaign materials that many consider to be anti-Semitic spurred the city into action. An Internet comic featuring a blond Foreskin Man battling an evil Monster Mohel intent on circumcising a baby angered Jewish leaders.
“Especially in light of disturbing campaign materials that evoke the ugliest kind of anti-Semitic propaganda, the city has an obligation to petition the court to remove the measure from the ballot in its entirety,” she said.
“San Franciscans cannot be asked to vote on whether to prohibit religious minorities from engaging in a particular religious practice,” she added.
Read more: sfgate.com