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LA council tentatively OKs porn condom ordinance

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - An ordinance that would require porn actors to wear condoms during film shoots was tentatively approved by the City Council on Tuesday.

The council voted 11-1 for the proposal. The ordinance still requires a second vote next week for final approval.

Under the ordinance, porn producers would have to provide and require the use of condoms on set in order to obtain permits to film in the nation's second-largest city.

Approval of the ordinance would supersede a proposed ballot initiative by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The group has long advocated for mandatory condom use in adult films and urged council members to approve the ordinance.

"This long struggle to move us to a place of making Los Angeles a safe place to make adult films has taken a huge leap forward today," said foundation President Michael Weinstein, referring to advocacy work and legal attempts to create a mandate for condoms in porn and to enforce it.

The Free Speech Coalition, the porn industry's trade association, issued a statement criticizing the vote and the incursion of government into sex films.

"Government regulation of filmmaking would likely undermine existing health and safety efforts and industry standards that are effective as well as take the government into dangerous new territory," said Diane Duke, coalition executive director.

Duke said the porn industry has a low rate of sexually transmitted disease and there has been no transmission of HIV in the industry in five years.

The most recent HIV scare in the industry came when a male performer initially tested HIV positive, but retesting revealed he was free of the disease in September 2011, according to Duke.

Prior to that, porn actor Derrick Burts was diagnosed HIV-positive in December 2010 after working in gay and straight porn for a few months. Burts said he contracted the disease through those performances.

Duke and others don't count Burts' case as an industry-caused illness, alleging he contracted HIV outside the workplace.

Burts denies those allegations and called the council vote Tuesday "a huge, huge step in the right direction."

The council also agreed to form a group comprised of law enforcement, state occupational safety regulators, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and other stakeholders to hammer out how to enforce the new rules.

The council also voted unanimously to drop a lawsuit filed by the city attorney against the foundation aimed at stopping its proposed ballot measure.

The group last month said it gathered enough signatures to put the issue on the June ballot.

The Free Speech Coalition opposes mandatory condom regulations but favors consistently testing adult film performers for sexually transmitted diseases.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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