ADL Hails San Francisco Superior Court Decision Rejecting Circumcision Ballot Initiative

San Francisco, CA, July 28, 2011 … Calling it an "affirmation of religious freedom and parental rights," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today hailed a decision by a San Francisco Superior Court judge to reject a ballot initiative that would have criminalized the Jewish and Muslim rite of circumcision.

Judge Loretta M. Giorgi ruled that the California Business and Professions Code prohibits local regulation of medical procedures and that it "serves no legitimate purpose" for an illegal measure to remain on the ballot.

Nancy Appel, ADL Associate Regional Director, issued the following statement:

This is a critical affirmation of religious freedom and parental rights. The Court has rightly upheld the freedom for Jews and Muslims in San Francisco to choose to circumcise their children in accordance with long-standing religious tradition.

We were heartened by the fact the Court ignored the offensive argument that traditional ritual circumcision is somehow akin to the ghastly practice of female genital mutilation. It is completely inappropriate and offensive to compare the two practices.

We were shocked and outraged that some advocates on the other side choose to use anti-Semitic comic books to drive home their arguments. We will continue to expose the bigotry inherent in those publications if they are used in support of similar pernicious initiatives elsewhere around the country.

ADL joined with a group of community organizations, doctors and Jewish and Muslim individuals in JCRC v. Arntz, a lawsuit challenging the November ballot initiative, which would criminalize the circumcision of males under the age of 18.

The coalition was represented by the San Francisco office of Morrison & Foerster.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.