LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A ballot initiative requiring Los Angeles porn actors to wear condoms has qualified to go before city voters in a presidential primary election in June, organizers said on Tuesday.
America’s second-largest city is home to the multibillion dollar U.S. porn industry, which health advocates say is riddled with sexually transmitted diseases.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation said the city clerk certified the over 71,000 signatures it helped collect, far more than the 41,000 needed for the ballot initiative.
“There are thousands of STDs in this industry,” said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, adding that jurisdictions pass the issue around like a hot potato.
“It’s the ick factor. They don’t want to deal with this because it’s sex, and because it’s porn,” he said.
Weinstein compared the measure to other public health laws that the city enforces, like those regulating massage parlors and smoking in public.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has issued over $125,000 in fines against porn producers in the past five years for various violations, but some of those citations are on appeal, according to figures from the agency.
Despite facing fines, most major porn companies continue to film without condoms.
“History has shown us that regulating sexual behavior between consenting adults does not work,” said Diane Duke, executive director of Free Speech Coalition, the trade association for the adult entertainment industry.
“The proposed regulation would likely diminish existing protocols and force adult companies out of the city, out of state or underground making it ultimately much less safe for performers,” she said.
The head of California’s Occupational Safety and Health department, Ellen Widess, on December 23 told a Los Angeles deputy city attorney who is disputing the measure in court that the regulatory body has no objection to the measure.
Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Tim Gaynor