You Might Get to Vote on Mandatory Condoms For Porn Stars

You Might Get to Vote on Mandatory Condoms For Porn Stars
Rorro Navia/Flickr

UPDATE at 3:12 p.m., Nov. 7: The industry responds, below.

he matter of whether or not condoms should be required equipment for porn stars on the job could be on the 2016 presidential ballot in California.

After failing to get such a law through the state legislature in 2013 and 2014, the L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation says it will announce "plans to launch a statewide California voter ballot initiative to require condom use in all adult films shot anywhere in the state."

The announcement was scheduled for 10 a.m. today at the group's Public Health Division.

The initiative process means AHF will have to get thousands of voter endorsements at a cost experts estimate is at least a few million dollars, mostly to pay for signature gatherers.

And then there are millions more needed to campaign in favor of the initiative—to try to get you to vote yes. The system lets organizations like AHF take their frustrations in getting such a law passed directly to the people—at a cost.

But AHF has both a successful track record of getting people to support similar condom laws, both in the city and county of L.A., for example, and the cash needed to put them on the ballot.

In this case the group says it will launch FAIR (For Adult Industry Responsibility), a campaign committee tasked with getting this job done.

Former porn star Cameron Adams, a.k.a. Cameron Bay, is HIV-positive and says she was once exposed to blood on a set "because they just wanted to finish a scene:"

You Might Get to Vote on Mandatory Condoms For Porn Stars
Cameron Bay via Twitter

Today, I am proud to support and participate in this California-wide ballot initiative to require the use of condoms in all adult films. Being exposed to bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious material shouldn’t be considered part of the job.

The AHF says its own poll of 1,158 California voters found that 71 percent would support such a statewide initiative.

The industry argues that consumers don't want to see condoms and that forcing the matter will drive producers out of the state and even underground, where performers could be even less safe.

The business maintains a voluntary, twice-a-month testing protocol for porn stars. When someone turns up positive for a serious STD, industry-wide production is often halted to prevent an on-set spread.

L.A. county's own voter-approved condom rule has already forced a lot of production off the radar, the industry has said. Indeed, local adult film permits have dwindled and productions have found homes in Las Vegas, Florida and elsewhere.

However, California is one of few states that explicitly allows money for sex if it's filmed as performance art, essentially.

The adult business trade group known as the Free Speech Coalition has fought tooth-and-nail against AHF's crusade for condoms.

UPDATE at 3:12 p.m., Nov. 7: The coalition responded today by saying that "performers and producers oppose [AHF chief] Michael Weinstein’s dangerous and ill-informed attacks on the adult industry."

Diane Duke, executive director of the organization, said:

Michael Weinstein is resorting to the ballot initiative process because he can’t get it done any other way. His campaign has failed multiple times in the legislature, it’s has been opposed by HIV outreach and LGBT groups, it’s been opposed by civil rights groups, it’s been opposed by newspaper editorial boards and, most importantly, it’s been opposed by performers. Why? Because the bill not only takes away performers’ control over their own bodies, it pushes the industry out of California and underground, making performers ultimately less safe. 

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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