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Enforcing condoms in porn films won't be easy, L.A. supervisors say

July 11, 2012 |  8:29 am

Porn condoms
With an ordinance mandating condom use in porn film shoots headed to the ballot, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors girded for the likelihood that voters may vote to approve the measure this November.

Officials, however, seemed skeptical it would prove effective.

Inspectors will not "be able to find every garage in the county of Los Angeles where the filming takes place," said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, whose sprawling district includes the San Fernando Valley, where many porn films are produced.

"Having said that, signatures have been gathered and the county registrar certified it and I do believe that the voters have a right to vote on this," the supervisor said. "But I do think that there's going to have to be a lot of work done … to create a path forward for credible enforcement of the law."

No supervisors spoke up Tuesday against putting the initiative on the ballot or indicated they opposed the ordinance.

On the other side of the podium was Michael Weinstein, president of the L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, who seemed confident of victory at the polls and exuberant at finally being able to force the supervisors to pay closer attention to the issue.

He urged the officials to "recognize the will of the people." And, he added, as leader of a provider of AIDS healthcare around the world, "I feel a personal responsibility that this industry, which is a scofflaw, operates in my backyard and not only is endangering these young people who are in the industry, but it's sending a terrible message to the world that the only kind of sex that's hot is unsafe," Weinstein said.

How the porn industry will react to a countywide measure is the next big question. The industry did not take any significant action to lobby against the city measure, but a spokesperson criticized it as "government overreach."

Jeffrey J. Douglas, chairman of the board of the adult film lobby group Free Speech Coalition, argued the county measure may violate the 1st Amendment's guarantee of free speech by "requiring a specific message to be contained in a film." 

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-- Ron Lin

Photo: An ordinance requiring the use of condoms on adult film sets in Los Angeles County is headed to the ballot. Credit: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times

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