The local party’s oversight body, known as the Democratic County Central Committee, unanimously passed a resolution denouncing the measure at their meeting Wednesday, January 27.
The initiative is backed by the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which passed a similar local measure that covered porn sets in Los Angeles County. The agency contends the rule is needed to protect the health of porn actors.
But those opposed to the measure say that in addition to condoms it would mandate the use of eye goggles by porn actors. They also worry passage of the initiative would create a “sue-a-porn-star” provision in state law, as anyone could bring a lawsuit against those who violate it.
And they are concerned that the state’s $6 billion porn industry would move to another state with less restrictive policies California has already enacted to protect the health of porn actors.
“These issues aren’t intuitive for a lot of people, especially when the measure is referred to as the ‘condoms in porn measure.’ The first question I would hear from people is, ‘What is wrong with condoms?’ Well, nothing,” said DCCC member Matt Dorsey, a gay man who is HIV positive and was the lead sponsor of the resolution. “It really takes some going through the measure and understanding the context and larger narrative to get how dangerous this measure is. In the end everyone did their homework, and I applaud my colleagues on the DCCC for it.”
AHF has teamed up with the group FAIR – For Adult Industry Responsibility – to push for the measure’s passage. The proponents argue it is aimed at expanding the power of Cal/OSHA and local California public health departments to enforce condom use on adult film sets throughout the state.
Their goal, they contend, is to end the transmission of both HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among porn actors and empower performers who want to use condoms but face opposition from porn producers.
“Porn producers tell the media that performers have a choice when it comes to condoms. What they don’t tell you is that if a performer wants a condom, they’re paid less. Sometimes, producers will fire you for asking. We’re replaceable,” stated Cameron Adams, who was identified in an AHF press releases as a former adult film performer who became infected with HIV while working in the industry in August 2013. “They’ll say, ‘I have three girls waiting to take your place, and they’ll shoot without condoms.’ So where’s the choice in that?”
Under the California Democratic Party’s rules, local DCCCs are not allowed to endorse or oppose ballot measures unless the state party decides not to take a position on a specific initiative, explained Dorsey as to why the SF DCCC did not outright oppose the porn in condoms ballot measure.
It is also partly why Dorsey is not asking other local committees around the state to pass similar resolutions. He does plan to discuss the condoms in porn ballot measure at the state party’s LGBT Caucus meeting during the convention, which will be held in San Jose February 26-28.
It is unclear if the state party will take a position on the ballot measure during the convention, said Dorsey, as the delegates will be more focused on making endorsements in state legislative and executive races as well as congressional contests. The party’s executive committee could vote to do so at a later date.
No matter when the party does take up the issue, Dorsey said the SF DCCC stance is likely to carry significant weight with party officials.
“San Francisco is a globally-recognized leader on HIV/AIDS issues,” said Dorsey. “This is a very strong statement from San Francisco’s Democratic Party, and I hope it will send an influential message to the California Democratic Party, and to voters statewide.”