updated 10/3/2011 8:44:36 AM ET 2011-10-03T12:44:36

California's governor has signed a bill that that will prevent local governments from banning male circumcision.

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Gov. Jerry Brown's office announced Sunday that the Democrat signed the bill which was written in response to a ballot measure proposed in San Francisco.

Backers of a ban collected more than 7,700 signatures to put a measure on the November ballot in San Francisco to outlaw the circumcision of most male children. It was later blocked by a judge.

They had argued that circumcision is an unnecessary surgery that can lead to sexual and health problems later in life.

Those against the ban say it is an important religious practice for many Jews and Muslims, and that it can reduce the risk of cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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