Ask Boy, 12, If He Wants To Be Circumcised, Court SaysJanuary 27, 2008 07:20 Of course the boy should have some say in this...
A 12-year-old boy should get a say in whether he gets circumcised, the Oregon Supreme Court has ruled.
The court sent the parental custody dispute back to the trial court "to resolve the factual issue whether M agrees or objects to the circumcision."
"M" is the child at the center of a long-running custody dispute between James and Lia Boldt, who divorced in 1999. Soon after, the father began studying Judaism and later converted. He also started teaching his son about the faith. By then, James had parental custody and told his ex-wife the boy would convert as well, and that to do so, he would have to have the circumcision procedure.
The mother objected, saying the child had been raised in the Russian Orthodox faith while the couple was married. Because the two sides disagreed, and were living in neighboring states, the conflict dissolved into ongoing personal and constitutional dispute.
James Boldt said that as a Jew and the primary caregiver, he has a First Amendment right to practice his faith as he sees fit for his child.
Lia Boldt countered her son does not want to go through with the circumcision, and that it is an invasive, irreversible, and potentially dangerous medical procedure.
The state high court seemed especially reluctant to address the issue, saying normally such disputes "are considered private family matters." But the justices noted "these parties cannot or will not resolve this matter without resort to the courts."
So rather than offer a definitive ruling, the justices ordered both sides to go to the actual source of the conflict.
"In our view, at age 12, M's attitude regarding circumcision, though not conclusive of the custody issue presented here, is a fact necessary to the determination" of whether the mother can press her objections to the procedure, wrote Chief Justice Paul De Muniz for the six-member panel. "Forcing M at age 12 to undergo circumcision against his will could seriously affect the relationship between M and his father, and could have a pronounced effect on father's capability to properly care for M."
U.S. Military Mum On Gay PolicyJanuary 08, 2008 23:04 The U.S. military apparently is not enforcing its policy of discharging gay soldiers who speak of their sexual orientation, USA Today reported Tuesday.
The report cited the case of Army Sgt. Darren Manzella, who appeared on the CBS program "60 Minutes" three weeks ago. In the interview, Manzella said his fellow soldiers knew he was gay and showed a home video of him kissing his boyfriend.
He told USA Today he told his commander he was gay in 2006, and the Army investigated and saw the kissing home video.
"They found 'no evidence of homosexuality,'" Manzella said.
U.S. President Bill Clinton approved the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in 1993 and about 12,000 troops have since been discharged for saying they were gay, the report said.
Eugene Fidell of the National Institute of Military Justice, a group of military legal experts, said with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, discharging troops was questionable.
"Military managers may be turning a blind eye because it's a nuisance and we need these people," he said to USA Today.
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