The Los Angeles County Council has been the center of a battle over condoms in recent weeks. The proposal to require porn actors to wear condoms during filming was tentatively approved on Tuesday. The council voted 11-1 in favor of the ordinance. Now it will go for a second approval next week. The council also agreed to form a group of stakeholders such as state occupational safety regulators, law enforcement personnel, and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to decide how the law will be enforced.
The push for this ordinance came on strong in December 2010 when porn actor Derrick Burts revealed that he was HIV positive. Some questioned whether he contracted it through performances in straight and gay porn or during a private encounter. Micheal Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, praises the decision by the council. "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." The Pink Cross, a non-profit organization created to help porn stars transition out of the business, said they have been in support of this law since inception. "They break every law on the porn set. Our organization Pink Cross Foundation has been testifying the last year in front of LA City Council in regards to enforcing condoms and other safety and health laws in adult films and we also are in support of FAIR, For Adult Industry Responsibility. We were at the press conference speaking out when FAIR was first launched," stated Shelley Lubben, president of the foundation.
Currently, the rule states that a porn actor must test negative for HIV and other STDs 30 days prior to filming. The law would enforce stiff fines for companies that don't mandate condoms for their actors and apply only inside the city limits. Filmmakers can continue to make their films without condoms elsewhere. The Free Speech Coalition opposes the new law stating that requiring condom use is too much government. "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.
Condoms are 99 percent effective in preventing the spread of HIV and other STDs when used properly. The final vote will come in June.
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