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L.A. city council enforces mandatory condom use in porn

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In a blow to San Fernando Valley porn execs and bareback aficionados, the L.A. city council has officially approved an ordinance requiring porn performers to wear condoms during shoots. While the law only applies to porn shoots in Los Angeles, the nine-to-one vote represents a huge victory for performer safety advocate groups like the L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, who have been rallying for lawmakers to mandate condom use in the porn industry for years. 

Although the debate over requiring performers to wear condoms on set has been going on forever, lawmakers have largely remained uninvolved, dismissing advocacy groups' pleas to crack down on on-set practices. A few months ago, however, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation started gathering signatures from voters asking them to pass an ordinance that requires adult filmmakers applying for a film permit to make their performers wear condoms. "It's a great day for the performers and safer sex in our society," Michael Weinstein, head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, told the LA Times Tuesday. "This is the first legislative body to take up the issue and the near-unanimous support is very gratifying."

Not everyone, however, shares Weinstein's enthusiasm for the new initiative. Porn-industry execs, for instance, have traditionally relied on regular, industry-wide testing to screen performers for sexually transmitted diseases, adopting more stringent measures in August after a performer tested positive for HIV, prompting a temporary industry shutdown. Producers also argue that condom use negatively affects sales. "If the market would accept condom-positive movies, that's all we'd be making. The fact is consumers don't want that," Christian Mann, manager of Evil Angel Productions, told ABC News a few months ago.

Some performers also object to the measure, on the grounds that lawmakers have no business interfering with industry practices on set. "This is government overreach," Diane Duke of the lobbying group Free Speech Advocates told the Times. "It's not about performer health and safety, it's about government regulating what happens between consenting adults."

So what do we think about this, porn-watchers and sex-havers? Should the safety of the performers be the industry's first priority, or does the government's involvement in the debate over condom use have some troubling implications? Does the ordinance infringe on freedom of expression, or is forcing a porn actor to wrap his shit up on the job like making a window washer wear a harness on the fifteenth floor, or telling a restaurant worker to wash his hands after pooping?