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.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.