LOS ANGELES (CN) - Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors wants voters to decide in November whether porn actors should be required to wear condoms to make their movies.
The Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 this week to put the "condoms in porn" initiative on the November ballot.
It would require pornography producers in the county to get a health permit from the county's Department of Public Health to make pornographic movies.
Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky, Don Knabe and Michael Antonovich voted Yes: to send the question to voters. Supervisor Gloria Molina was the only supervisor to vote No. Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas abstained.
The law is meant to protect sex performers from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. And, presumably, set a good example for people who watch pornography.
The president of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has sought mandatory condom use in pornography for years, called the commission's vote "a great day for the performers and safer sex in our society," in an interview with the Los Angeles Time.
Last December, the City of Los Angeles suedfive registered voters who proposed the initiative, including AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein, claiming the measure was pre-empted by state law.
But the Los Angeles City Council later approved a condom ordinance in January this year.
The United States' multibillion-dollar porn industry is concentrated in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Porn producers have threatened to pack up and leave the state if actors are required to wear condoms.
The industry claims that monthly check-ups for sexually transmitted diseases protect actors.
But in August 2011, the industry shut down after a performer tested positive for HIV, according to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
The foundation backed the measure, along with more than 370,000 Los Angeles County residents who signed a petition to have it put on the ballot.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation senior director of public health Whitney Engeran-Cordova told Courthouse News that the group was "very pleased" that the county had "followed the lead of 371,000" people who wanted the issue placed on the ballot.
"I believe the people of Los Angeles believe that workers should be protected from getting sick on the job," Engeran-Cordova said. She said that requiring porn actors to wear condoms was no different than asking a worker to "wear a hard hat on construction site."
"This is not a matter of consensual sex. This is a job," she said.
Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, said the supervisors had put the measure on the ballot because "they really had no other choice."
"What was made abundantly clear at the meeting, through the written statement by the L.A. County's public health director, is that the cost of implementing the program will be astronomical for the county as well as adult producers," Duke wrote in an email to Courthouse News.
"AHF representatives argued in favor of the measures based on workplace safety issues which only supports Supervisor Molina's argument - this issue does not fall under county jurisdiction but at the state level with CalOSHA [California Department of Industrial Relations]."
But apparently, voters will decide. Some county officials said that enforcing the rule might be difficult.