US & Canada

Porn condom use to be put to Los Angeles voters

A stock image of a condom
Image caption An existing ordinance requires condom use for porn actors in the city - but not in the larger county

A ballot measure proposing that porn actors in Los Angeles County wear condoms during filming will be put to voters in November's election.

The measure gathered enough signatures to qualify, election officials said.

Aids Healthcare Foundation, a supporter of the petition, says the move would shield porn actors from HIV.

If passed, it would expand to county level an ordinance requiring condom use as a condition of receiving a filming permit within the city of Los Angeles.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed that measure into law in January after the Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) brought a similar petition to city government.

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The city is still studying how to enforce the ordinance.

A spokeswoman for the Free Speech Coalition, an industry group, told the Los Angles Times in February that such measures were "government overreach".

"It's clearly the government interfering where it really doesn't belong," Diane Duke told the Times .

Adult production companies are threatening to move out of California because of the requirement, but face legal difficulties.

A 1988 ruling prevented producers from being prosecuted under anti-prostitution laws, and only one other state - New Hampshire - has a similar ruling.

Adult film productions in the area have been suspended in the past because of HIV scares.

The ballot measure would require adult film producers to obtain a permit from the county's public health department, requiring actors to use condoms for penetrative sex.

Lori Yeghiayan, a spokeswoman for AHF, told the BBC the ballot measure would be similar to health permits for beauty salons and tattoo parlours, with possible regular inspections.

Breaking the conditions of the potential permit could res­ult in fines or mis­de­mean­or charges.

Ms Yeghiayan added that condom use "is the law of California" under the state's division of Occupational Safety and Health, where it is covered under protections regarding bodily fluids, but "the issue has been enforcement".

Critics of the condom requirement say actors are regularly tested, and such a requirement would hurt business and push production studios underground.

"We found that a lot of viewers at home don't want to see condom porn," Keiran Lee, a British porn actor in Los Angeles, told BBC's Newsbeat in January .

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