Adult Film Industry Promises Lawsuit Over Ballot Measure Requiring Condoms In Porn

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"Adult Film Industry Promises Lawsuit Over Ballot Measure Requiring Condoms In Porn"

Last week, Los Angeles voters approved Measure B, which requires adult film stars to wear condoms during sex scenes. Shortly after the measure passed, a trade group supporting the porn industry announced their intention to sue to have it struck down. According to a letter from the industry-affiliated Free Speech Coalition, “[w]e believe that the law is not only unconstitutional on the grounds of forced expression, but also falls within the jurisdiction of the state of California rather than local government. Therefore, we will file suit and challenge this intolerable law in court.”

As Antonio Haynes points out, the legal arguments backing this lawsuit are not implausible. To the extent that the ballot measure is understood as a restriction on adult filmmaker’s expression — as opposed to being viewed as a workplace safety regulation — the First Amendment does not often look kindly upon attempts to ban certain kinds of expression. Ultimately, however, the fate of the law may rest upon a factual disagreement between the law’s supporters and the adult film industry. Haynes claims that the porn industry’s existing testing regime is so effective that “rates of [STD] infection appear to be smaller in the adult film industry than in the population at large.” Meanwhile, a forthcoming study in the Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases found that “roughly a third of the 168 adult film actors who participated in the research project were found to have a previously undiagnosed STD.”

To the extent that the ballot measure can be justified as a relatively unintrusive way to cure a genuine public health problem, it is much more likely to survive constitutional scrutiny.

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