Porn Industry Wages War Against New Condom, Permit Regulations

pornography
Image Steve Marcus/Reuters

On Election night on Tuesday, voters in Los Angeles county voted by a 12-point margin to require condoms on porn sets, but the industry has vowed to fight the new law.

Tuesday's Measure B, the Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, was passed with 55.9 percent of the votes. Currently, about 90 percent of the films in the United States' adult film industry are shot in Los Angeles county, particularly in the San Fernando Valley. The initiative, sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, requires filmmakers to obtain a public health permit and for performers to wear condoms when performing vaginal or anal penetration. Fines and possibly criminal misdemeanors would be levied against violators, though enforcement is still being worked out.

"The majority of voters who passed [this measure] into law are not only voters, but also they are customers or they are potential customers," AIDS Healthcare Foundation spokesperson Ged Kenslea said to TIME magazine.

The law was justified with several health scares. In 2010, a performer was diagnosed with HIV. This year, the porn industry was shut down for a week after a syphilis outbreak. A recent study found that porn actors were more likely to have sexually transmitted infections than prostitutes in neighboring Nevada.

Nevertheless, the porn industry is insistent that it can regulate itself. Currently, their system requires performers to be tested every 14 to 28 days. The industry says that people will not pay to watch performers wear condoms, and that the measure will only force productions underground or to film elsewhere, like in other California counties, Las Vegas, Mexico, or in Europe's adult film capital, Hungary. The Free Speech Coalition wants to challenge the measure in court by saying that it violates their free speech.

It is not simply the porn industry that is upset about the move. The industry, which is worth about $1 billion and employs 10,000 people, could hurt the local economy if it moves or takes other drastic measures. The Valley Industry and Commerce Association, the largest business advocacy group in the region, opposed the measure as well.

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