LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles city lawmakers voted to require porn actors to wear condoms on set, the latest move in a battle between AIDS activists and the California-based US adult film industry.
In a vote which must be confirmed next week, the City Council approved by 11 to 1 an ordinance to enforce the condom requirement and make companies pay a fee for a film permit to finance inspections.
The vote came after the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has long campaigned for condom use on porn sets, collected enough signatures to force LA city fathers either to pass the ordinance, or organize a costly public vote.
AHF President Michael Weinstein described the vote as a step toward regulating what he called the "machine that was promoting unsafe sex" in the US porn film industry, based in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles.
But Nina Hartley, a registered nurse and porn actress since 1984, blasted the ordinance.
She said adult film shoots require sexual intercourse that lasts 30-60 minutes, and that wearing a condom for that long would lead to chafing, open sores and a greater risk of transmitting diseases.
"It's a disaster for health and safety. I know it looks different from the outside, but it will not work to protect anybody," she said.
California porn film makers were forced to suspend production temporarily last year after an actor tested positive for HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, in the latest such disruption to the multi-billion-dollar industry.
Weinstein dismissed warnings that the new LA ordinance would increase the number of illegal porn shoots. "We don't not have regulations of restaurants because somebody is going to have a hot dog cart that is unregulated," he said.
"We don't say that you can build a skyscraper without any worker protections because somebody is putting up drywall in somebody's garage," he added.
Film L.A., which issues permits for film companies shooting in the West Coast city, said about five percent of the 45,500 permit days the agency issues per year are for porn shoots.
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