Thursday, August 22, 2013

Condom Law For Porn Films Doesn't Violate Free Speech, But . . .

I reported here last November that Los Angeles Country voters were voting on a law requiring condom use by actors in porn films.  The law was quickly challenged by some film makers.  And less than a year later a court has ruled.   The LA Daily News reports:
A federal court judge delivered a mixed ruling to the adult film industry late Friday, saying that while making actors wear condoms during porn shoots doesn’t violate the First Amendment, enforcing such a law raises constitutional questions.
So, it seems, the health benefits outweigh the First Amendment rights to make sex films without condoms.  However, there are apparently some problems with how the county will enforce the law.
“Given that adult filming could occur almost anywhere, Measure B would seem to authorize a health officer to enter and search any part of a private home in the middle of the night, because he suspects violations are occurring. This is unconstitutional because it is akin to a general warrant,” Pregerson wrote
Conflicts between different values, in this case freedom of speech and reasonable rights to privacy versus health, are what make life interesting, and why we regularly have to find ways to balance the tensions between different values.

My guess is that the film maker's real value is money, not free speech.  That's just the legal concept he needs to get this to court.  When it comes to balancing a business owner's right to make more money against the health of the employees, I'd tend to lean toward the health of the employees.  But even then, the judge is going to have to weigh the amount of money to be lost against the severity of the health risks. 

But apparently there will be appeals. 

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