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SANTA MONICA (CBS) — A Southland activist group on Wednesday kicked off their campaign to put a measure before city voters that would prohibit performing a circumcision on any boy under 18 — an effort that some religious groups are calling unconstitutional.
San Diego-based anti-circumcision group MGM Bill recently succeeded in placing a similar initiative on the ballot in San Francisco for November, and now they want Santa Monica to vote on the measure in 2012.
The ban, which would extend to all circumcision procedures — even those performed for religious purposes — is aimed at supplementing existing California law that prohibits female genital mutilation and extending that protection to young boys.
Orthodox Rabbi Isaac Levitansky told KNX 1070′s John Brooks that the Greeks, Romans and other governments have all tried to ban circumcision without success.
“The Jewish people, under the scrutiny of the U.S.S.R., also did circumcisions underground,” said Levitansky.
But the proposed ban on a practice found in both Judaism and Islam has riled up religious groups, who contend that any such measure would be a direct assault on their First Amendment rights to freedom of religion.
The group notes on its website that Muslims represent the largest single group of circumcised men in the world, but contends that despite religious objections, “no one has the right to cut off the working body part of a child”.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)