California's worker safety board voted Thursday to further study a proposal that would require porn actors to wear condoms during sex scenes.
The six-member California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted unanimously to assign an advisory committee to study the proposal from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The advocacy group filed a petition in December seeking to require the use of condoms in the porn industry.
"We feel like this is the game-changer. The sentiment expressed by the board members indicates that the majority if not all of them are willing to vote for regulations," said Michael Weinstein, president of the Los Angeles-based advocacy group.
The group wants the same sort of protections in place for nurses and doctors who work with bodily fluids to be extended to porn to prevent the transmission of diseases.
By law, U.S. adult film actors must prove they have tested negative for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases within 30 days of going to work on a film.
Pornographers, including Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Vivid Entertainment head Steven Hirsch, have said mandatory testing for adult film actors has been an effective way to prevent the spread of disease. Flynt added that adult film viewers don't want to see people using condoms.
Hirsch said the adult film industry would likely leave California if the use of condoms became mandatory.
In a statement, an adult entertainment trade group praised the state's decision to form a committee to study the matter.
"I hope that they choose someone responsible from the adult community to participate and I'm hopeful that, eventually, some workable regulations will be put in place," said Paul Cambria, a lawyer for the Free Speech Coalition.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation's other efforts to mandate condom use have been unsuccessful.
A lawsuit the foundation filed over the issue use was dismissed in December.
Last month, Los Angeles County public health director Dr. Jonathan Fielding said regulating condom use on porn sets is nearly impossible, citing typically clandestine porn shoots that require little more than a bed and a camera.
The foundation also has written three pieces of legislation to require condoms in porn but can't find a legislator willing to sponsor their bill.