The leading proponent of a ban, Lloyd Schofield, 59, acknowledged circumcision is widely socially accepted but he said it should still be outlawed.

“It’s excruciatingly painful and permanently damaging surgery that’s forced on men when they’re at their weakest and most vulnerable,” he told Reuters.

His group submitted about 12,000 signatures supporting his proposed ban, said Rachel Gosiengfiao, campaign services manager for the city’s Department of Elections. The agency has 30 days to verify the petitions. He needs 7,200 valid signatures to qualify.

The measure, which would only apply in San Francisco, would make it a misdemeanor crime to circumcise a boy before he is 18 years of age, regardless of the parents’ religious beliefs.