San Francisco male circumcision ban has enough signatures for ballot, backers say

| April 26, 2011

Backers of a November ballot measure that would ban circumcision of males under 18 years old in San Francisco say they have enough signatures to bring the proposal to voters.

Needing at least 7,168 valid signatures by today’s 5 p.m. deadline, San Francisco resident Lloyd Schofield, who is the lead proponent of the measure, said Monday he has 12,250 valid signatures.

“It’s in excess of what we need to qualify for the ballot,” Schofield said.

He plans to submit the signatures to the Department of Elections today. The department has 30-days to review and determine whether it officially qualifies for the Nov. 8 election.

The measure has gained nationwide attention since it was first reported six months ago, and is the latest much-talked about ban proposal to come out of San Francisco — since the Board of Supervisors banned toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals backed in November.

The measure has also thrust the debate on circumcision into the spotlight. It has drawn sharp criticism from religious groups who say it violates religious freedom, and been ridiculed on “ The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

Schofield is supportive of a nationwide movement to outlaw male circumcision. A similar effort was attempted last year through the Massachusetts legislature, but failed.

About $9,000 has been spent on the signature-gathering effort, according to filings with the Ethics Commission.

The measure would amend The City’s police code “to make it a misdemeanor to circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the foreskin, testicles or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18.”

Violators would face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

“We don’t come at this from a religious angle. We feel this is a very harmful thing,” Schofield said. “Parents are guardians. They are not owners of children. It’s a felony to tattoo a child.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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