opinion

City of Los Angeles Files Suit Against AHF’s Condom Ballot Initiative

Diane Duke

City of Los Angeles lawsuit against AHF says ballot measure is likely “unconstitutional,” and will waste taxpayer money -

A lawsuit was filed yesterday by the City of Los Angeles challenging the constitutionality of AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s (AHF) ballot initiative. The initiative, if passed, would force local officials to enforce mandatory condom regulations on adult production sets. Named as defendants in the suit are various AHF personnel, including AHF President Michael Weinstein.

Clearly AHF has chosen to squander its donors’ resources by filing frivolous lawsuits and ballot initiatives instead of providing valuable resources toward the prevention and treatment of HIV,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said. “It is heartening to know that the City of Los Angeles will draw the line on AHF’s political grandstanding when it comes to wasting taxpayer dollars.

“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 service, all of which are successfully provided through adult industry protocols and best practices,” Duke added.

The city’s complaint argues that the ballot proposal is preempted by state regulations that require barrier protection on adult sets and that enforcement of those regulations falls under state jurisdiction. There have been two previous rulings in complaints filed by AHF, where the judge decided that L.A. County officials are not compelled to enforce regulations on behalf of state health & safety agency Cal/OSHA.

The city also states that the process involved in bringing the ballot measure to the voters would be a “waste” of taxpayer money. The complaint went on to say that the ballot initiative is potentially unconstitutional; if passed by voters in June, the city raised concerns of more money being spent if the initiative was overturned on constitutional grounds.

“The City of Los Angeles has acted responsibly to protect the taxpayers from enacting an unenforceable measure preempted by State Law. The adult industry has been extraordinarily successful in preventing HIV infections through its testing protocols and self-regulation,” Free Speech Coalition (FSC) Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas said.

FSC has worked with industry stakeholders, compliance experts and legal advisers to develop the FSC Bloodbourne Pathogen Plan, and other policies for industry appropriate regulations.

In April, when Adult Industry Medical Healthcare (AIM) clinic was closed, largely due to legal attacks by AHF, FSC stepped up to provide Adult Production Healthcare & Safety Services (APHSS.org) as a resource for performer testing and production protocols.

“Thankfully, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office is acting in an abundance of caution and not simply marching to the tune called by Michael Weinstein,” attorney and APHSS.org legal adviser Karen Tynan commented.

“The industry is working with the state toward adopting industry specific and industry appropriate safety standards, and these efforts by AHF and Michael Weinstein are an attempt to interfere in that process,” Tynan said. “The Los Angeles City Attorney is correct that the ballot initiative would be a complete waste of taxpayer money.”

A PDF of the filing can be seen here: LA v. AHF

(Graphic: Courtesy of Dark Evil)

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