The Board of Supervisors moved forward this week on a ballot initiative to require actors who have sex on camera to wear condoms.
County attorneys told the board it either had to submit the initiative for voter approval or adopt the proposed ordinance outright. The vote was 3-1 with Supervisor Gloria Molina dissenting and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas abstaining.
'It's being presented to us as, 'Let's stop the spread of AIDS,"' Molina said. "We all agree with that." But she raised concerns about the county and taxpayers taking on liability for enforcement of a workplace issue that she said should be the responsibility of the state's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry ordinance makes condom use a condition of obtaining a permit for adult movie production from the county Department of Public Health. Proponents gathered 371,200 petition signatures for the initiative and the county's Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk certified the results as sufficient to submit the initiative for the November ballot.
Aiming to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, among adult film industry workers, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and others are waging a campaign to require condom use in adult films shot and produced throughout California. A similar measure was adopted by the Los Angeles City Council earlier this year.
The measure's advocates cite county Department of Public Health statistics showing that adult film industry workers are 10 times more likely to be infected with an STD than members of the population at large.
Allan Gelbard, a lawyer who works with the adult film industry, called the measure an "unconstitutional and unwise attempt to fix a nonexistent problem."
"This law will drive a significant portion of the adult film industry out of California, don't kid yourself," he said.