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Porn industry suffers setback with judge's ruling on condom law

The porn industry suffered a defeat Friday when a federal judge rejected its contention that requiring adult film performers to wear condoms is unconstitutional.

The ruling involved implementation of the Los Angeles County Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, or Measure B, passed by voters in November.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein called the judge's ruling "a tremendous, tremendous victory, one that will go a long way to safeguard the health and safety of those adult performers working in the industry."

The measure was approved by an overwhelming majority of county voters. It was sponsored by five individuals affiliated with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a nonprofit group.

Vivid Entertainment and Califa Productions and porn performers Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce sued the county in January to prevent the implementation of the new law.

"The exercise of 1st Amendment freedoms cannot be limited by referendum," the lawsuit said. The ordinance stands "as an unconstitutional prior restraint upon protected expression."

Steven Hirsch, Vivid's founder and co-chief executive officer, told The Times in January: "We will fight for our right to express ourselves as we please."

After county officials declined to defend the measure, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation was granted  “intervener” status to defend the law against the porn industry’s lawsuit.

The industry later tried to have the group removed, but the motion was denied.  

In Friday’s ruling, U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson wrote that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation presented evidence of the health risks the measure is targeting. He said the new law seeks to alleviate those harmed in a direct and material way.  

“Plaintiffs [adult film industry,] by contrast, have presented evidence from individuals in the adult film industry, but not in the public health or medical profession, who claim testing is so effective and universal that condoms are unnecessary,” Pregerson wrote. 

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Twitter: @latvives

ruben.vives@latimes.com

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