SACRAMENTO, California — Californians are set to decide next year whether to require actors in pornographic movies to wear condoms, taking up an issue that could affect the future of the state's multibillion-dollar adult film industry.
The initiative qualified for the November 2016 ballot on Wednesday after supporters gathered the nearly 366,000 valid petition signatures they needed, the secretary of state's office said.
The measure would require movie actors to wear condoms when filming scenes of sexual intercourse. It would also require movie producers to pay for vaccinations, testing and medical exams for sexual transmitted diseases.
It would help prevent the spread of diseases both among actors and by promoting safe sex practices among viewers, said AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein, the measure's proponent.
"The No. 1 way that young people learn about sex in this day and age is pornography on the Internet," he said in a telephone interview. "In porn, real people are having real sex. They're transmitting actual diseases, and the audience knows it. It's not like a fictional Hollywood film."
The Free Speech Coalition, which is the adult film industry's trade association, fears the measure would harm the industry and promote lawsuits against actors, producers and distributors without significantly improving safety because performers currently are tested for disease every 14 days. "This is an unconscionable initiative that would take a legal and safe industry and push its performers into the shadows," Diane Duke, the trade group's chief executive, said in a statement.
The measure could cost the state tens of millions of dollars annually in lost state and local tax revenue, projected the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst and the state finance department.
But Weinstein said the industry is unlikely to abandon California because few other places allow the legal production of pornography or have California's benign weather that permits filming outdoors year-round.
Weinstein said he could withdraw the ballot measure if state lawmakers enact a similar law by June 30. However, he noted that such legislation has previously failed.