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Germany to keep circumcision legal

BERLIN — German lawmakers passed legislation on Wednesday ensuring parents the right to have their boys circumcised, bringing a close to months of legal uncertainty set off by a regional court’s ruling that equated the practice with bodily harm.

The measure passed by a vote of 434-100, with 46 abstentions, in Germany’s lower house of Parliament, the Bundestag. The vote followed months of emotional debate, and angered and alienated many German Jews and Muslims, for whom circumcision is a religious rite.

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But opponents of the bill, including 66 lawmakers who had proposed a version of the legislation that would have banned the procedure for boys younger than 14, insisted that removing a healthy body part from a child too young to have a say in the matter violates basic human rights.

Before the vote, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, Germany’s justice minister, urged lawmakers to consider the far-reaching implications of their decision.

‘‘There is no country in the world where the circumcision of boys for religious reasons is considered a criminal act,’’ Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said.

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