German lawmakers have approved a bill to keep male infant circumcision legal. The new law, passed by 434 to 100 votes on Wednesday (12.12.2012), grants parents the right to authorize circumcision by a trained practitioner.

This follows months of debate. In May 2012, a Cologne court ruled that the circumcision of a young boy on religious grounds amounted to grievous bodily harm, and was therefore illegal. The decision prompted  many Jews and Muslims to question their acceptance and sense of feeling spiritually at home in Germany.

Months of debate on the cultural and religious tradition of infant male circumcision in Germany followed. Nowhere else in the entire world has this debate been held "with such acrimony, frostiness and at times brutal intolerance," Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said at the time. 

The Cologne ruling led to a good deal of legal insecurity. In practice in the past, it had always been undisputed that parents could agree to a circumcision that is not strictly necessary from a medical point of view.