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Anti-Circumcision Group to Picket ACLU’s Marriage Equality Rally

Boys should be protected by law from circumcision just like girls, say activists. And if the ACLU backs marriage equality? Picket them because it also is against circumcision bans! Welcome to Oakland.

The influential European Council is voting Tuesday on whether to define ritual circumcision a "violation of human rights."

The influential European Council is voting Tuesday on whether to define ritual circumcision a "violation of human rights."

San Francisco anti-circumcision activists are planning to picket a campaign for marriage equality by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU )in Oakland Wednesday evening because the civil liberties group opposes circumcision bans.

The reasoning is based not only on mixing apples and oranges but also making them equal, just like boys and girls are born equal – from top to bottom.

Here is a civil liberties group campaigning for equality in marriage but is being picketed because it does not support the argument that there should be gender equality in the law that protects girls from circumcision.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has organized a screening of “The Campaign,” and members of Bay Area Intactivists said they will protest outside the event venue” to condemn the ACLU’s work denying boys equal protection from genital mutilation.”

The ACLU’s sin, in the eyes of anti-circumcision activists, is that it argued that the San Francisco Male Genital Mutilation Bill a ballot initiative two years ago to restrict non-therapeutic circumcision to consenting adults  violated the right of parents to have their sons circumcisions, according to Jewish law.

The ballot proposal never even reached the voting booths because  a San Francisco judge ruled that state law preempts the city from regulating medical professionals.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi removed the measure from the ballot in her order, stating, “The [California state] statute speaks directly to the issue of local regulation of medical procedures and leaves no room for localities to regulate in this area.”

But if you already are going to change the facts of life and disregard certain bodily differences between girls and boys, then why stick to other facts?

IntactNews, which reports on the “genital integrity movement,” reported that the removal of the proposal from the ballot was “squelching democracy by denying voters their voice.”

In other words, democracy is when you win and it is anti-democratic when you lose.

Once that reasoning can be understood, everything becomes clear.

Federal law protects girls from genital mutilation. IntactNews points out that the law does not stipulate any “religious or cultural exceptions.” If there are any readers who know of a religion that considers circumcision of girls a mitzvah, please raise your hand.

Following the court ruling striking the anti-circumcision proposal from the ballot, California passed a law making it illegal for local authorities to ban or restrict circumcisions. The ACLU backed the law, making it persona non grata for the activists.

By the way if you want to demonstrate against the ACLU next week, be warned that, according to Intact, “a limited number of signs will be available [but] you are also welcome to bring your own sign.”

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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60 Responses to “Anti-Circumcision Group to Picket ACLU’s Marriage Equality Rally”

  1. Ch Hoffman says:

    They don't like circumcision – they shouldn't practice it.

    Mankind has done quite well for 3600 + years with circumcision; and as for its effect on fertility, we could point to the 1 billion + Muslims as the strongest possible rebuttal.

  2. Lisa Kamins says:

    there are always going to be those who believe in religious freedom for themselves and not for anyone else. some have to put on a show of the ridiculous.

  3. Ira L. Jacobson says:

    Thea adherents of WHICH religion practice female circumcision? Islam.

  4. Brother K says:

    Friends, it looks like the American Civil Liberties Union is squirming over our upcoming protest at the Equal Rights Celebration in Oakland on Wednesday. We'll be there, ACLU, and we'll expect some answers, got it?

  5. Don't boys born to Jewish parents also have a right to religious freedom? Forcefully branding their bodies with the religious mark of others denies them of that.

  6. Jessica Trant Jensen says:

    So, do you feel that female circumcision for religious reasons should not be illegal? What about the ban on allowing children to handle venomous snakes in religious ceremonies? Blood sacrifice? At what point is the line drawn? I say right at the point where your own body ends.

  7. I know! Jewish and Muslim parents who circumcise their children believe in religious freedom for themselves, and deny that freedom to their own children. Glad you noticed.

  8. Mary Lanser says:

    Why do people seem to want to differentiate personal body rights by gender? We are ALL human…..not just males and females….in fact some people are born with both genitals….so why are ONLY females genitals protected under law? Good question. Ethically, the only person with the "right" to decide on a body (genital) alteration is the person whose body (genitals) are attached to them. It's simple…..if a child is not old enough to understand and make an informed consent to a body modification on themselves, then they are too young. Only a mature person who can make an informed decision for their own body should be making such decisions. It's not that complicated.

  9. Mary Lanser says:

    it's effect on fertility? And Muslims also practice female circumcision, so you must agree with that too? wow

  10. Greg Hartley says:

    I was proud to hold the sign in this photo – it must have been taken in DC this March. The ACLU shows cultural blindness and hypocrisy by failing to support equal protection for boys. Non-medical genital cutting of children, regardless of gender or severity, is a human rights violation. It also infringes on the American tradition of religious freedom. A person should be able to choose any religion, or none at all, when he or she is able to make that choice. Education is irreversible; genital alteration is not. Even the Amish have Rumspringa. Whose Body, Whose Rights?

  11. Exactly CH. No one owns another person's body and therefore this practice should not be imposed on anyone, particularly minors.

  12. The ACLU actively worked against equal rights for men to have control of their own bodies and self determination. This is a 180 degree pivot from their correct position to uphold the same right for women. Why are men less deserving than women for protection from forced genital mutilation in the eyes of the ACLU?

  13. Jason Fairfield says:

    There is a very logical nexus between the issues. Marriage equality, as a subset of GLBT rights overall, is about autonomy to make your own decisions about your body, as well as individual privacy rights. It is about keeping government and others out of your pants — and that includes your parents. Every girl and boy is born with a constitutional right to an intact body. Children are not possessions.

  14. many boys, girls and intersex kids, too, have been subjected to 'botched' surgeries not medically indicated.

  15. Greg Hartley says:

    Excellent rebuttal, James! People often make myth-based decisions until confronted with the facts. And sometimes cognitive dissonance overrides rational thought.

  16. Thanks for telling it like it is, James.

  17. "Bodily differences between boys and girls." What a ridiculous argument in favor of mutilating one and leaving the other alone.

  18. Hugh Intactive says:

    Nobody says circumcision affects fertility. And you'rw missing the point :) – what makes circumcision a human rights violation is that it is done to someone else, who didn't ask for it and may very well grow up not to want it. Once upon a time what the individual wanted could always be submerged in what "the community" wanted, but those days are over. Mankind does perfectly well without circumcision, too.

  19. Greg Hartley says:

    I misspoke in the above post, and it won't let me edit. It should be "Education is reversible; genital alteration is not."

  20. James Loewen says:

    1 billion people doing something wrong does not make it right.

    Doing something wrong for 3600 years does not make it right.

    Sexual abuse and misogyny have long histories and many proponents. Eventually people wake up to the obvious harm.

  21. Catherine Schau says:

    There is no such thing as a "religious right" to force circumcision on someone else. The ACLU's stance on genital mutilation is hypocritical. Boys, girls and intersex children all have the right to their own genitals. Infant and child circumcision violates the most basic right of all-the right to security of the person. The parent's desire to circumcise their child DOES NOT outweigh this right. Religious rights are non-transferable. Person A's religious rights END where Person B's human rights being, even it A is the parent and B is the child.

  22. Craig Garrett says:

    No one that I know of has claimed that male circumcision affects "fertility". It's about human rights and bodily integrity.

  23. Craig Garrett says:

    No one that I know of has claimed that male circumcision affects "fertility". It's about human rights and bodily integrity.

  24. Craig Garrett says:

    "If there are any readers who know of a religion that considers circumcision of girls a mitzvah, please raise your hand." Shall I direct you to the MILLIONS of Muslims living in Egypt and Indonesia who feel that female circumcision is vital to Muslim faith? Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, do your research before you make a flat-out incorrect statement.

    Not only do many people feel that female circumcision is a religious or cultural requirement, many people feel that it is, in fact, beneficial! They would be offended by you referring to it as "genital mutilation". Interesting how you are offended by people characterizing male circumcision in the same way.

    But let me point out that your statement is actually an attempt to sidestep the issue of equal rights, and attempts to make the claim that if there is religious motivation for circumcision, then it should be allowed. Well, then, if we can remove baby boys' foreskins for religious reasons, can we tattoo them? Or remove earlobes or toes or some other part of the body? Please tell me, when does the cutting become wrong?

  25. Craig Garrett says:

    Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, boys and girls *are* born with equal rights. Claiming that people have different human rights because of their gender is akin to saying that people have different rights because of the color of their skin, or their religion, or sexual orientation. A boy's genitals are different, therefore it's ok to cut them? Well, then, if a person's skin is a different color, then they can be a slave. How far can we take this? Throughout history, people have taken it *really* far. You need to think carefully about this. Human rights are *human* rights – they are for EVERYONE, regardless of gender.

  26. Ron Low says:

    What a non-journalistic mess. Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu writes like a child dancing around with fingers in ears.

  27. James Mac says:

    The ACLU had to make a decision; defend the 'right' of adults to sever healthy living flesh from the bodies of children or defend the rights of children to be left alone and not to be cut.

    The ACLU has made a grave error of judgement, betraying their core charter and society's most vulnerable citizens with their immoral decision.

    Cutting the genitals of children is wrong, profoundly and inexcusably wrong.

  28. Oh man. Religious rights end when another body begins. Its my choice to be the religion I want, its not something I am going to force onto my children. That's up to them to decide.

  29. Myriam Obadia says:

    Mary Lanser,"female circumcision"t isn't required by the Quran, and it isn't a circumcision at all, since it doesn't uncover the female equivalent on the glans (the clitoris). The practice, which is actually an African Animist custom at its origin, requires the ablation of the labia minora and of the entire clitoris and is therefore more comparable to an emasculation, than to circumcision. Furthermore, the medical profession opposed the ban, because circumcision brings a definite health benefit for men: lowers the rate of infections, lowers erectile dysfunction, lowers the rate of cancer, and adds an average of 10 years to the man's lifespan.

  30. Myriam Obadia says:

    Actually, it's forbidden in most Muslim countries as it is a rite borrowed from African tribes and isn't at all mandated by the Qu'ran.

  31. Myriam Obadia says:

    People, you do as you see fit, but as a mother, I looked a bit into it before having my sons circumcised. I decided to do it because a) I have a male relative (who isn't Jewish) who ended up having to get a phimosis surgically corrected at the age of 12. Unlike circumcision at 8 days -when the penis isn't yet fully innervated- circumcision at 12 is excruciatingly painful; b) according to the AMA, the practice brings a definite health benefit for men: it lowers the rate of UTI, lowers erectile dysfunction, lowers the rate of cancer, and adds an average of 10 years to the man's lifespan; c) I'm Jewish and thankful that the hygiene practices demanded by the Torah -such as the washing of hands after going to the bathroom and before eating- have kept our people alive when others were dying of epidemics.

  32. Lynn Tilley says:

    By not standing up for the human rights of baby boys, the ACLU is on the wrong side of history. Babies are born without a religion and should be protected from having someone else's carved into their flesh. Shame on you ACLU!

  33. Myriam Obadia says:

    Mark Wood look at the health benefits for the man first, then try to understand that customs don't survive that long without some compelling reason. Finally, none of us is granted the right to judge another human being as a "joke", so kindly grant others the respect you desire to be granted.

  34. Lynn Tilley says:

    hope your sons buys into all that, considering it was his penis that you altered. My husband is working hard at restoring what his parents so "thoughtfully" robbed him off. The foreskin has sexual function and only the owner of the organ should get to decide how much (if any) should be removed. Forced gential surgery is barberic and you didnt do enough research if those are your facts. The American Cancer society does NOT recomend circumcison as a means of lowering incidence of penile cancer (which is laready lower than male breast cancer) and the UTI studies all stem fom a flawed metaanalysis done by the US army decades ago. Most of the world's men are intact and glad they have their foreskin. If you have ever been with a whole man, you would know most of the world's women are appreciate it too.

  35. Myriam Obadia says:

    Since you work in the medical field, why don't you consult with the doctors who opposed the ban?

  36. Myriam Obadia says:

    "carved into their flesh" Seriously? Circumcision is merely enlarging the natural opening for the glans and keeping the latter exposed by folding back the flap of skin. At the age this minor surgical operation is performed by the Jews, that skin isn't fully innervated, so the pain is minimal. Furthermore, if -like myself- you really are opposed to inflicting any pain to your baby, you can have the doctor or the mohel use a topical numbing aseptic lotion before the cut.

  37. Norm Cohen says:

    Myriam, this is NO "folding back the flap of skin". Circumcision amputates what would be 15 square inches of human flesh in an adult male. The infant foreskin is FULLY innervated, fully able to feel the same pain as an adult. Topical anesthetic is ineffective through the thickness of the foreskin, and a mohel isn't licensed to provide truly effective anesthesia. You are repeating ancient lies used to defend a primitive rite against modern intelligence.

  38. Bridget Baker says:

    I've had my three boys circumcised at 8 days as well. And I'm glad I did and they don't mind. They're actually happy (especially the elder ones) because it has since come out that there is a condition that runs in the family, forcing all males in my husband's line to having to endure this at around the age of 40. Just that nobody talked about it until it hit my hubby and his brother. But the boys have seen firsthand how painful it can be for two weeks and more and are glad they can't even remember having it done. And according to my husband (and his brother) they are happier now after the surgery than they were before because a) the pain is gone and b) the sensitivity has increased which is a bonus.

    So, Lynn, I've been with my husband before and after his surgery (we're together for 20 years) and I much prefer him after because he's actually now got an interest in intimacy which pain beforehand kept pretty low key.

  39. Myriam Obadia says:

    15 square inches? I can easily believe this… if we're talking about a male donkey. The mohel who circumcised my sons was also their pediatrician, so you'll excuse me if I put more credence in what he told me about the level of anesthesia required, especially since, as I was present, I had no problem noticing that the boys didn't even flinch when cut.

  40. Myriam Obadia says:

    15 square inches? I can easily believe this… if we're talking about a male donkey. The mohel who circumcised my sons was also their pediatrician, so you'll excuse me if I put more credence in what he told me about the level of anesthesia required, especially since, as I was present, I had no problem noticing that the boys didn't even flinch when cut.

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