opinion

Mandatory Condom Ballot Initiative on June Ballot – Now What?

Diane Duke

On Wednesday, Nov 30, AIDS Healthcare Foundation held a press conference to announce that they had collected 64,000 signatures on petitions for a ballot initiative that would force condom use to be mandated on adult production sets in the City of Los Angeles. If the signatures collected can be verified, the mandatory condom initiative would be put before Los Angeles voters in a citywide election to be held in June 2012. Condom enforcement would be administered through film location permits, and AHF has proposed a $85 fee from adult producers to pay for any enforcement staffing. This development is the latest action in AHF’s FAIR (For Adult Industry Responsibility) campaign.

A PDF of the ballot initiative petition can be viewed by clicking here.

In a previous press conference, Weinstein told reporters that if the ballot measure is approved by Los Angeles voters, that AHF will mount campaigns in other California cities and counties – effectively making California a condom-only state for adult productions.

As most industry members know, if the mandatory condom initiative was approved by voters, this would drive most producers to leave the state of California, or to take their productions “underground.” If that were the case, it would be very difficult to regulate any health & safety standards for the adult industry, including the industry-imposed regulations that have been effective since 1998.

Free Speech Coalition has responded to various accusations and attacks by AHF and grandstanding by AHF President Michael Weinstein, prior to the latest developments, and will continue to oppose AHF’s efforts to legislate sexual behavior between consenting adults on adult production sets.

Regarding the ballot initiative, FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said, “FSC Is opposed to mandatory condom regulation. History has shown us that regulating sexual behavior between consenting adults does not work. The best way to prevent the transmission of HIV and other STIs is by providing quality information and sexual health services. If condoms were mandatory existing testing protocols would likely disappear. The protocols that are in place are here to protect the performers and successfully do so.”

FSC also has represented a pro-adult industry voice to state regulatory agency Cal/OSHA during proceedings to develop industry-appropriate health and safety regulations. We have consistently supported self-regulation and monthly testing for performers as a successful model for risk management in adult productions. FSC also commissioned a report debunking the misinformation spread by AHF and LA County Public Health Department, and their claims that STI rates for performers present a public health threat or a possible “epidemic.”

When Adult Industry Medical Healthcare (AIM) closed in April – largely due to lawsuits brought against them by AHF – FSC also stepped up to develop APHSS.org, a health & safety program to regulate monthly performer testing and uphold the protocols practiced by AIM, which are highly effective at protecting adult performers.

In fact, condoms are only 85 percent effective in the prevention of pregnancy. Hence, use of condoms on adult sets, at best, also represents a risk management model that is not 100 percent effective. Promoting condoms as the only method for protecting performer health & safety is just one of many outlandish claims against the adult industry made by Weinstein and AHF.

Since 2009, when AHF began its campaign against the adult industry, there have been two incidents of performers that were found to be HIV-positive and neither of those cases were proved to involve transmission of HIV on a production set. The latest HIV incident, in August, was a result of a performer that received a false positive result, which has been verified with multiple tests over an extended time period.

FSC is asking for support from all industry members in order to confront the challenge from AHF and other anti-adult industry activists. As the adult industry trade association, our mission is to confront issues that threaten the well-being of the adult community and its businesses. That is why the association was founded and why we exist – to represent the best interests of the industry. We are honored to do this work, but we can’t do it without you.

At the last Cal/OSHA meeting regarding mandatory condoms, in June, more than 60 active adult performers attended; FSC was grateful for the help of several pro-industry activists that helped us have such a strong turn-out.

Now that AHF has stepped up their strategy to regulate adult productions – performers, producers, fans and other industry supporters must unite to make our voice heard, so that the oppressive legislation being pushed by AHF does not drive the industry out of California or force inappropriate regulation. If we do not meet the challenge, then who will stop groups like AHF from pushing for further legislation to control sexual behavior between consenting adults – even in the privacy of their own bedrooms?

FSC will continue to update our members and the industry on further developments. We are stronger if we are united, educated and informed on the issue. What can you do? For more information on how you can join FSC, please contact joanne@freespeechcoalition.com or (818) 348-9373.

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