March 3rd, 2010

Keep Walking

MBMbill's day on the hill.

Yeah -- I've been quiet the past few days -- a lot has been going on. Suddenly I'm getting job interview requests like crazy -- and at the same time, the Male Genital Mutilation bill (MA-Senate Bill 1777) got it's moment in the spotlight at the Massachusetts State House (it only took FOUR years).

The Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary listened to public testimony yesterday (2 March 2010) in a public hearing forum. The room was literally standing room only from the sheer number of people that came. The committee heard from almost two dozen people who clearly stated their support for the bill and gave detailed information why they supported it. (A special thank you needs to go out to Chairperson O'Flaherty for 'burning the midnight oil', keeping the hearing going into the night, allowing everyone to testify!) You can read my personal testimony here.

Senator Cindy Creem (1st Middlesex and Norfolk) who is the senate's chairperson for the joint committee (and allegedly Jewish) was absent more than 50% of the hearing, and when present, seemed more interested in whispering in the ear of the house chairperson, Eugene O'Flaherty (Ward 2, of Boston, and Wards 1 and 2, precincts 1 and 3 of ward 3, and precincts 1 and 4 of ward 4, of Chelsea, Suffolk County) than listening to the heartfelt testimony from citizens. My hat's off to the Honourable Chairperson Eugene O'Flaherty who appeared truly interested and sympathetic to the persons testifying (following recovery the of initial shock that we all felt then the words "penis", "foreskin", "circumcision" and so on were being spoken in the State House!)

Various Senators and House Members on the committee came in and left throughout the hearing. Written testimony was submitted by all speakers to the secretary for dissemination to all committee members. We were assured that each written testimony submitted would be read (yeah, right)...

We were featured on FOX25 Boston (WFXT) (see the clip below). As you can see from the on-the-street interviews, everyone (bar one person) agreed that a person should have their own choice when it comes to circumcision!

Peter W. Adler, MA, JD has written a summary of the testimonies.

There were a total of three people opposed to S 1777, believing it was their right to have healthy body parts amputated from their children. All three quoted religious freedom, health "benefits" and various references to their own version of the bible/torah.

Of the three testifying against the MGM Bill, one was male , wearing ceremonial robes and a yamaka and was viably very upset at he was awaiting his turn to speak, while each person in favor of S 1777 received rousing applause (which is uncommon in these sort of formal proceedings).

The other two were female, one spurted quotes from the bible's chapter of genesiss. She looked a lot like "the cat lady" from the Simpson's television show (photo: right), obviously without the cats -- but just as loony -- spouting biblical quotes.

The other lady looked, sounded and acted a lot like Beth Grant's character Kitty Farmer from the movie Donnie Darko. If you've seen Donnie Darko, Kitty the side character that was producing the dance troupe "Sparkle Motion!" with the young daughters. If you you haven't seen Donnie Darko, think of any over-zealous mother living their live vicariously through their daughter by pushing them hard in contests, pageants, etc. -- you get the idea.

So, the three opposing views were quite radical, while the SEVENTEEN that testified on our side were doctors, lawyers, publishers, parents, professionals and stated our case quite eloquently, calmly and rationally. Senator Creem appeared shocked, then disgusted when several of our testifiers that were Jewish publicly denounced what most Jews consider a "birthright". One, a Jewish mother who refused to have her boys circumcised, testified which caught Senator Creem's attention for a moment, then as if to shun the testifier, spun her chair around and proceeded to apparently ignore the rest of what she had to say. Separation of State and religion does not exist.

A Physician Associate/PA testified that he encourages his colleagues not to circumcise babies, after taking the time to learn more about circumcision. He made a compelling speech about the serious damage he saw in adult men caused by neonatal circumcision.

A summary of the testimonies has been written by Peter W. Adler, MA, JD and can be seen here.

The result (vote) from this hearing is due from the committee by 17 March 2010. Until that time, we will continue to pressure the committee members (below) to read our testimony and research the subject for themselves.
The Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary

Michael Avitzur, Legislative Counsel to Senator Creem (
Rep. Eugene O’ Flaherty, House Judiciary Chair (

Senator Cynthia Creem, Senate Judiciary Chair (
Senator Steven Baddour, Senate Judiciary Vice-Chair (
Senator Gale Candaras (Gale.Candaras@State.MA.US)
Senator Jack Hart (
Senator Thomas McGee (
Senator Bruce Tarr (

Rep. Christopher Speranzo, House Judiciary Vice-Chair (Rep.ChristopherSperanzo@Hou.State.MA.US)
Rep. James Fagan (
Rep. Colleen Garry (
Rep. Marie St. Fleur (
Rep. John Fernandes (Rep.JohnFernandes@Hou.State.MA.US)
Rep. Katherine Clark (Rep.KatherineClark@HOU.State.MA.US)
Rep. James Dwyer (
Rep. Danielle Gregoire (
Rep. Lewis Evangelidis (
Rep. Daniel Webster (
Until then, please thank Matt Hess, head of and Intact America for making this event a resounding success for genital integrity for everyone!

More news coming -- but if you're a supporter of our bill and a resident of Massachusetts, won't you consider joining our MGMbill-MA Yahoo group so we can keep in touch with breaking news?