September 14, 2015 / 6:49 PM / 3 years ago

Activists submit signatures for California condoms-in-porn vote

(Reuters) - A campaign to require condom use in pornographic film productions in California has submitted enough signatures to election officials before Monday’s deadline to put a ballot measure before state voters in 2016, organizers said.

Employees work on the production line at the Taiwan Fuji Latex Condoms Discovery Center in New Taipei City July 24, 2013. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

“Unlike most politicians, voters are not squeamish about this issue, seeing it as a means to protect the health and safety of performers,” Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and a backer of the measure, said in a statement.

“It’s only fair that adult film performers be afforded the same safeguards as other Californians in their workplaces.”

Organizers said they collected 557,138 signatures from registered voters, more than the 365,880 they needed by Monday for the initiative to be on the ballot in November 2016. The signatures must still be verified within 30 working days by election officials.

In 2012, the foundation successfully backed a voter-approved measure in Los Angeles County to force the use of condoms in local pornographic film shoots.

Porn producers fought that measure in U.S. District Court, arguing it went against their clients’ right to freedom of expression. But in December a regional U.S. federal appeals court upheld the requirement.

The new proposal, if approved by voters next year, would mandate that state and municipal officials ensure condoms are used on pornographic film sets statewide.

Much of the U.S. adult movie industry, which is worth an estimated $9 billion to $13 billion a year, is based in Los Angeles, especially its San Fernando Valley suburb.

Several high-profile adult film performers in the area have suffered HIV infections, shaking the sector and local health officials. AHF has said porn actors are 10 times more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease than the public.

In the past, producers have argued that some viewers do not want to see visible contraceptives in porn films, saying they distract from their customers’ fantasies by reminding them of real-world worries such as pregnancy and disease.

Reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver; Editing by Eric Beech

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