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Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

AIDS Group Can Defend Condom Law

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The AIDS Healthcare Foundation can intervene in a lawsuit challenging a law that requires porn actors to wear condoms, a federal judge ruled.

Vivid Entertainment, Califa Productions and two porn actors filed sued Los Angeles County earlier this year, opposing the condom law, known as Measure B, on constitutional grounds.

Claiming that it is "beyond dispute" that pornographic movies are protected expression under the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment, Vivid asked a judge to enjoin enforcement of the law.

Voters approved Measure B, the Safer Sex in Adult Industry Act, in the November 2012 general election. It also requires pornography filmmakers in Los Angeles County to take blood-borne pathogen training to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Porn producers now pay a fee to the L.A. County Department of Public Health for a film permit. Film permits are revoked if actors or producers violate the measure.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation was the official advocate of the ballot measure.

For that reason, U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson last week granted the group's motion to intervene, finding that the foundation had a "significant protectable interest" in defending the condom law.

"In short, under California law proponents of a ballot measure are considered to have a protectable interest that they have assumed on behalf of the state and the voters, regardless of any separate, individual interest in the measure that proponents may be able to demonstrate," Pregerson wrote in his 12-page order.

The foundation cannot rely on the defendants to represent their interests in upholding the law, Pregerson wrote.

The County Board of Supervisors voted against it, according to the foundation, and city counsel was skeptical of the law.

"Most significantly, defendants have indicated that they 'have declined to defend the constitutionality of Measure B and have taken a position of neutrality regarding whether Measure B is constitutional and/or preempted by California law,'" Pregerson wrote, citing the county defendants.

The Federal Court will hear arguments in May.

Applications for porn shooting permits have dropped sharply since the measure took effect. According to the Daily News, permit processor Film LA received 500 requests for adult film permits each year before the law came into effect - down to two this year.

The porn industry is concentrated in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Porn producers have threatened to pack up and leave the county, or even the state, taking with them a multibillion-dollar industry.

Now it appears they may be making good on that threat, after reports of porn shoots in Ventura County.

In Camarillo, a 45-day moratorium on adult film permits is in place until politicians decide whether to pass their own condom laws, according to the Daily News reported.

Outside Los Angeles, residents told the L.A. Times that a porn production was shooting in a home on a quiet street.

"It's really disturbing," Tim Gray, a 56-year-old father of four told the Times. "We were eating dinner and we heard these loud sounds outside, like something really bad had happened. I went outside and heard, well, the typical sounds you'd hear in a porn movie. It was echoing all over the neighborhood. Later I asked my daughter if she heard it. She said, 'Yeah, I was doing my homework and I just turned up the music to drown it out.'"

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