Poll shows voters favor mandatory condoms for adult film performers
In an effort to bolster support for a county-wide ballot measure requiring adult film performers to wear condoms on the job, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has released the results of a poll that surveyed more than a 1,000 likely voters in Los Angeles County about the proposed requirement.
At the same time, it announced that enough signatures had been collected to qualify the measure for inclusion on the November ballot.
According to Michael Weinstein, president of the Los Angeles-based foundation, the poll's survey of 1,046 people -- 63% of whom said they would vote yes on the measure -– indicates that voters are more concerned about public safety and worker safety than the adult film industry’s threat to leave California over the issue.
Weinstein and other AIDS activists are credited for the healthcare regulations that went into effect in the city of Los Angeles last month requiring porn performers to wear condoms while on location. They hope to extend that restriction to additional communities throughout Los Angeles County.
Porn industry representatives argue that such measures threaten an industry that has been a source of millions of dollars in revenue. They have said that the law is unnecessary because actors are tested regularly for HIV and other diseases.
The foundation has collected more than 235,000 signatures, which according to AHF is 3,000 more than what's required to qualify. They hope to have 374,000 signatures by June 5 in order to qualify for November 2012 election.
"For too long, elected officials have dodged this workplace safety issue, punting the issue from city to county to state, and as a consequence, the health and safety of these workers has been neglected, often with dire consequences," Weinstein said in a statement.
The poll, which was conducted last month, also determined that 83% of the respondents had heard about the measure, which is called the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act and was written to minimize the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
The measure would require adult performers to use condoms during productions. Producers would have to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The Los Angeles City Council gave final approval to a similar city ordinance in January. At the time, Diane Duke of the lobbying group Free Speech Coalition objected, calling the action "government overreach."
"It's not about performer health and safety; it's about government regulating what happens between consenting adults," said Duke.
-- Thomas Curwen
Photo: AIDS Healthcare Foundation volunteer Walter Cruz of Los Angeles hands out free condoms on the Venice beach boardwalk in February. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times