Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Updated at 5:02 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2014

A federal appeals court panel on Monday upheld a Los Angeles County law requiring porn actors to wear condoms during film shoots.

Measure B was approved by voters in November 2012. It requires producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the county, follow all health and safety laws, including condom use, and pay a permit fee to cover enforcement of the law.

The measure’s main provision requiring condom use was upheld by a federal court judge in August 2013. In a 40-page opinion issued today, a three- judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision, denying claims by Vivid Entertainment and a pair of porn performers who claimed the measure was a restriction on the First Amendment.

The panel ruled, however, that the measure “was narrowly tailored to achieve the substantial governmental interest of reducing the rate of sexually transmitted infections, and left open adequate alternative means of expression.”

Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a major proponent of the ordinance, said the ruling will help ensure workplace safety for porn performers.

“We thank the performers who courageously shared their stories with the world while suffering abuse and ridicule by the porn industry — the same industry they made money fore — who sought to discredit them and shut them up,” Weinstein said.

But Diane Duke, CEO of the Free Speech Coalition, a porn industry trade group, said she still does not believe condoms should be mandated.

“We have spent the last two years fighting for the right of adult performers to make their own decisions about their bodies, and against the stigma against adult-film performers embodied in the statute,” Duke said. “Rather than protect adult performers, a condom mandate pushes a legal industry underground where workers are less safe. This is a terrible policy that has been defeated in other legislative venues.”

Duke said there has been a 95 percent drop in adult-film production permits in Los Angeles County since the measure’s passage.

In his 2013 ruling, U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson found that certain provisions of Measure B gave the county health department too much discretion in regard to restriction of film permits. The judge also found that some of the enforcement provisions of Measure B violated the Fourth Amendment because it gave the county the power to “enter and inspect any location” where adult filming is taking place.

City News Service

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