LA County Won't Mandate Condoms In Porn
LOS ANGELES -- An appeals court has ruled that courts can't compel public health officials to require and enforce condom use in porn.
The June 16 ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles upholds dismissal of a case brought against county health officials in 2009 by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
In its suit, AHF contended the officials should be compelled to issue a regulatory order requiring adult film performers to wear condoms in sex scenes and get hepatitis B vaccinations.
In upholding a lower court's dismissal of the case, the appeals court said the county health officer has discretion in his duty to prevent and control disease.
"We cannot compel another branch of government to exercise its discretion in a particular manner," the court's three-judge panel wrote in its decision.
The advocacy group's lawyer Brian Chase says the case will be appealed to the state Supreme Court.
In a statement, county health officials said they're pleased with the dismissal and that their actions have been in accordance with California law.
"The department continues to support both state legislation to expand requirements of the adult film industry to include mandatory condom use, and the use of (state workplace safety) regulations to regulate practices in the adult film industry that expose performers to unnecessary and preventable occupational risks of acquiring and transmitting these diseases," spokeswoman Sarah Kissel said.
There is no current legislation to mandate condom use.
State workplace safety officials are in an early phase of drafting rules that are more specific to the porn industry, in hopes of seeing improved compliance.
AHF has publicly called on state and local officials to enforce the current, openly flouted state workplace safety statute that requires condom use. The rule is the same that calls on medical professionals to wear protective gear when dealing with patients.
The lawsuit was initially filed after the group says it exhausted all other methods to compel the county to protect public health in response to an unidentified porn actress' HIV positive diagnosis in June 2009.
"The county of Los Angeles has the duty to protect public health, one the highest responsibilities of local government. It simply cannot ignore this duty and blithely sit by while thousands of people, both inside and outside the industry, contract STDs," said Tom Myers, chief of public affairs and general counsel for AHF.
Since the suit was filed, another adult performer has tested HIV positive after performing in gay and straight porn films.