LGBT Groups Join Opposition to AB 1576

SACRAMENTO — The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and the Transgender Law Center have announced their stance against Assembly Bill 1576 bill that, if passed, would mandate the use of condoms in all adult film productions in California, the Free Speech Coalition announced today. 

"We are disappointed that proponents of this bill have worked to actively silence the viewpoints of sex workers from this process,” the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club announced in a statement. “If this legislation were truly aimed at creating a safer work environment workers would have been brought to the table to discuss their safety needs and make suggestions about how to best address them.

“Proponents of AB 1576 have attempted to silence, shame and bully sex workers, and in doing so have shown that their agenda clearly isn’t about the health of these workers, it’s about a moral campaign against their industry."

The bill is slated for a hearing tomorrow before the state's Assembly's Appropriation Committee, which is tasked to allocate annual funds to state government agencies. The panel will hear discussion on the bill, as well as its newly made amendments to it, from its sponsor, Assemblyman Isadore Hall. The committee also will take a vote on it, and possibly move it along.

In April, the bill was greenlighted by the Assembly Arts & Entertainment Committee, who voted 4-1 to send it to the Appropriation Committee.

 The Transgender Law Center also released a statement, "Transgender communities remain some of the most impacted by HIV and face remarkably high rates of discrimination in education and employment. While Transgender Law Center appreciates the intentions behind AB 1576, we are concerned that harsh penalties will drive big production studios out of California and small studios underground. This would result in lost economic opportunities for many in the adult film industry, both in front of and behind the cameras, inadvertently causing more harm to performers that this bill intended to protect."

The bill has been opposed by adult performer groups such as the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) and the Erotic Service Providers Union. According to the FSC, more than 500 independent performers have signed a petition asking the Appropriations Committee to vote no on the bill.

The Appropriations Committee is chaired by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who was accused last year by AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Michael Weinstein of "single-handedly blocking" AB 640, a previous porn-condom bill that died in the Legislature. In August, Weinstein called him "pornographers' best friend in Sacramento" at a press conference over the measure.

AB 1576 will be heard at the state Capitol, Room 4202 tomorrow at 9 a.m. It is the third item slated in front of 17 potential committee members.