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Santa Monica anti-circumcision backer drops ballot measure bid

(JTA) — The main backer of a ballot measure to ban circumcision in Santa Monica, Calif., has dropped the effort over its perceived attack on religious freedom.

Jena Troutman told the Jewish Journal on Monday afternoon that she would withdraw the proposed ballot initiative to prohibit "Genital Cutting of Male Minors," which she submitted to the Santa Monica city clerk on May 19, the newspaper reported on its website.

“It shouldn’t have been about religion in the first place,” Troutman told the Jewish Journal. “Ninety-five percent of people aren’t doing it for religious reasons, and with everyone from The New York Times to Glenn Beck focusing on the religious issue, it’s closing Americans down to the conversation.”

Troutman, a lactation consultant and mother of two, was featured in a New York Times article over the weekend about attempts to ban circumcision in Santa Monica and San Francisco.

"The proponent of the Santa Monica ballot initiative to ban circumcision just left a msg 4 me that she is WITHDRAWING the measure!!" Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom posted on his Facebook page Monday afternoon.

In the interview, Troutman also distanced herself from MGMbill.org, a San Diego-based organization led by Matthew Hess, the author of the "Foreskin Man" cartoon, which has been roundly criticized in recent days as anti-Semitic.

A coalition of Santa Monica Jewish community leaders from all denominations had met Monday morning to discuss how to combat the ballot initiative.

A ballot measure banning male circumcision of minors will appear on the November ballot in San Francisco. The measure, which would apply only in the city of San Francisco, would make it a misdemeanor crime to circumcise a boy before he is 18 years old. The maximum penalty would be a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Circumcisions would be permitted only for medical reasons, with no religious exemptions.
 
 

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