In a tentative ruling published this afternoon, a San Francisco Court ruled in favor of removing a controversial proposition that would have prohibited circumcision of males under 18 from the city’s November 2011 ballot.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta M. Giorgi found that because the proposition aims to enact an ordinance that “attempts to regulate a medical procedure, the proposed ordinance is expressly preempted” by an existing California State Law.
Giorgi issued her tentative ruling in advance of an already scheduled hearing for Thursday, July 28, which will go ahead as planned.
The decision was welcomed by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, even as they acknowledged that the tentative ruling wasn’t likely to be the end of the court battle over the ballot measure.
“We expect that the other side will appeal, so we’re in this for the long haul, but this is extremely good news and will make tomorrow’s court hearing less of a nail biter,” Abby Michelson Porth, associate director of the Bay Area Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), wrote in an email.
The JCRC led a group of plaintiffs in bringing the lawsuit, which included Jewish and Muslim families, doctors and Jewish ritual circumcisers.
Lloyd Schofield, the ballot measure’s proponent, defended it against the lawsuit. Schofield notified the plaintiffs Wednedsay afternoon that he will appear in court on Thursday morning to oppose the ruling.
According to documents filed with the court, Schofield is acting as his own attorney. He could not be reached for comment.
“It’s a great win for San Francisco parents,” Nicole Aeschleman, an attorney representing three of the plaintiffs in the case, said of the tentative ruling. “Parents will continue to have the ability to make decisions about the health and well-being of their children in consultation with the medical professionals who will actually be performing those procedures.”
Schofield submitted over 12,000 signatures on behalf of the measure, which was certified in May to appear on the ballot in November.
Aeschleman said she believed that the language of the ballot measure had not been finalized before Wednesday’s ruling, nor had any ballot materials been printed.
“We brought this motion when we did so that it could be decided before any costs would be expended on the ballot,” she said.
Though much of the discussion—particularly in the Jewish community—has centered around the ballot measure’s lack of a religious exemption, Wednesday’s tentative ruling made no mention of religion.
Read more at LA Jewish Journal.