opinion

The Los Angeles Condom Mandate: A Radio Debate with FSC’s Diane Duke and AHF’s Michael Weinstein

Diane Duke

Controversy over the Los Angeles Safer Sex in Adult Films “condom” ordinance is heating up. The mandate, which is already in effect as an ordinance in the City of Los Angeles, is also up for a countywide vote in November. If passed, the County of Los Angeles will create a new agency to enforce mandatory use of barrier protection (condoms, eye protection, dental dams, gloves, et al) on adult production sets. A report outlining possible enforcement plans for the ordinance was submitted to the City Administrator on August 15th. These are the latest developments in the campaign for condom legislation, waged by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) since 2009.

FSC Executive Director Diane Duke debated AHF President Michael Weinstein this week, live on KPCC. Listen here. Also interviewed in this piece on Airtalk; City Administrator Miguel Santana.

Free Speech Coalition has led the opposition against this ordinance, which is overly broad, impossible to enforce and faces constitutional challenges. The legislation is the brainchild of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the world’s largest HIV nonprofit – as well as a deep-pocketed, outside entity that has relentlessly attacked adult industry businesses on behalf of “protecting the performers.” AHF’s legal actions were a direct factor in the closure of the AIM clinicin 2010, the adult industry’s nonprofit resource for STI testing. In fact, AHF’s misguided campaign has endangered the performers.

There have been more than 6,000 new cases of HIV in Los Angeles since 2008; there have been two documented cases of adult performers contracting HIV since 2008 and neither was reported to be in relation to work on an adult production set. The industry has implemented health & safety protocols and complied with self-regulation successfully since 1998.

FSC has worked with industry stakeholders, compliance experts, attorneys, representatives of Cal-OSHA to try and develop industry appropriate standards. FSC also operates the Adult Production Health & Safety Services (APHSS.org) program, to offer reliable monthly STI testing for performers and uphold industry self-regulation standards based on the work of the AIM clinic. Our system is a secure information database that safeguards user privacy, working with a network of established healthcare providers nationwide.

At a time when the state of California and the county of Los Angeles face serious budgetary reductions, we believe it is irresponsible to support or approve of a legislative mandate that will only result in a poorly written law and more funds spent in litigation when the ordinance is challenged.

Lastly, when a legal activity is outlawed, it is not eliminated but driven underground, where regulation and cooperation become near impossible. The twisted efforts of Weinstein and AHF to eliminate the adult production industry – under the guise of working for the greater good – is dangerous grandstanding based on stereotypes and scare tactics. AHF vilifies adult industry producers as exploitive, the same way that people once stigmatized HIV+ individuals as vectors of disease. Which group will they attack next, in their zeal to “protect” by mandating sexual behavior?

Please, support our efforts to say NO to this ballot initiative; its ballot identification number is to be announced.

If you would like to learn more about the Los Angeles condom ordinance, contact joanne@freespeechcoalition.com.

(Photo: Courtesy of Nickpo)

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