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Monday, May 29, 2023

Condom Measure to Make Ballot, Backers Say

Condoms could soon be coming to the ballot box.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation said Friday that it had collected enough signatures for a ballot initiative on mandatory condom usage in adult films shot in California.

The Hollywood advocacy group has 371,486 signatures of registered voters on its petitions as of July 12, about 5,000 more than needed to put the measure on the November 2016 ballot.

AHF is the same group behind Measure B, an initiative Los Angeles County voters approved in 2012 that requires the use of condoms on local adult-film shoots as a means of stopping the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among performers. AHF is now trying to bring those same regulations to the rest of California.

“It’s only fair that these performers be afforded the same safeguards as other Californians in their workplaces,” AHF President Michael Weinstein said in a prepared statement.

Advocates of the measure will continue collecting signatures until the Sept. 14 filing deadline, with the goal of obtaining between 525,000 and 550,000 signatures. Campaigns typically gather more signatures that needed in case some prove to be invalid.

The adult film industry has objected to a statewide mandatory condom policy just as it did against Measure B. It has contended its protocols for testing performers for sexually transmitted diseases are adequate.

Diane Duke, chief executive of the Free Speech Coalition, a Canoga Park trade group for the industry, said that Weinstein has wasted AHF’s funds in a campaign to “harass” adult performers.

“Money that should have gone to prevention campaigns in high-risk communities has instead been spent attacking a highly regulated industry that hasn’t seen an on-set HIV transmission in over 10 years,” Duke said in a prepared statement.

A lawsuit filed by two performers and Vivid Entertainment, one of the largest producers of adult films in the San Fernando Valley, challenged Measure B’s constitutionality.

In August 2013, a U.S. District Court judge in California struck down portions of the law, including a $2,000 to $2,500 permit fee, but upheld the constitutionality of requiring condoms in adult films and any fee that was “revenue neutral” to cover enforcement costs. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with that decision in a December ruling.

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