Germany upholds law to keep circumcision legal
December 12, 2012
After months of controversy and legal uncertainty, German lawmakers approved a bill this past Wednesday that allows male infant circumcision to stay legal, according to The Associated Press.
This past June, a court ruling stated that the practice creates some bodily harm and it should be illegal, but this led to an outcry from people in both Jewish and Muslim faiths, and eventually the ruling was taken off the table, according to the news outlet.
The vote ended up with the vast majority passing it, with 434 people in favor, 100 against and 46 abstaining. Those who were opposed had a suggestion in which boys would be able to get circumcised once they turned 14 years old and were able to give their consent. However, this was quickly ruled out. Many people in both the Muslim and Jewish faiths are thrilled with the result, as it is a rite of passage and they believe it would threaten their beliefs, the publication reports.
"The circumcision law finally restores legal certainty," Dieter Graumann, the head of Germany's Central Council of Jews, told the news source. "What's important for us is the political message of this law, which is that Jewish and Muslim life is still welcome here."
The ruling concludes that parents have the right to circumcise their newborn sons if they follow medical rules and make sure it is performed by a trained professional. If the boy reaches six months old and has yet to have the procedure done, the parents have to get it done by a doctor, the media outlet reports.
According to the Los Angeles Times, this idea was brought into the courts after a district court in Cologne said that a circumcision of a young Muslim boy was considered bodily harm and was illegal. As a result, Jews and Muslims, who believe this to be a big aspect of their faith, have been actively protesting against this.
Germany has approximately 82 million people living there, about 4 million of whom are practicing Muslims and 250,000 Jews, the AP reports.