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July 27, 2016

Equality California Joins Fight Against Prop 60

LOS ANGELES—Equality California is the latest group to come out against Proposition 60, a California ballot initiative that would require performers in adult productions to use condoms, and would allow any California resident to sue when a condom is not visible. Like many other opponents of the measure, Equality California—the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization—noted Prop 60 would negatively impact working environments for all adult performers. “Rather than curbing transmission of HIV and protecting performers, Proposition 60’s broad private right of action will drive production underground or out of state, and out of reach of California’s health and worker protection safeguards,” Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “By driving production away from regulations that require and encourage safer-sex practices in adult film production, Proposition 60 will exacerbate the very problem it purports to address.” Eric Paul Leue, campaign manager for Californians Against Worker Harassment, applauded the decision to oppose. “This initiative has broad opposition from the LGBTQ communities, in addition to the performers themselves. Michael Weinstein, the sole proponent of this measure, continues to disregard the very real dangers this poorly written initiative creates for adult industry workers, including public harassment, outing, and profiteering. We are proud to have Equality California stand beside us against this ugly, offensive, and dangerous initiative.” In addition to Equality California, the initiative has been opposed by more than 100 diverse and bipartisan coalitions, including the California Democratic Party, the California Republican Party, the California Libertarian Party, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the LA LGBT Center, AIDS Project Los Angeles, the LA Commission on HIV (recommending that the LA County Board of Supervisors oppose the initiative as part of their legislative slate), the Transgender Law Center, the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC), the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), the Free Speech Coalition and Senator Mark Leno. The full text of the Equality California’s letter of opposition is available here. On Tuesday, the California Secretary of State’s office released the preliminary voter guide that will be mailed to all voting households prior to the Nov. 8 general election. The guide includes signed statements on each side of the 17 measures scheduled to appear on the ballot, including Prop 60. For Prop 60, the voting guide features an “Argument in Favor,” “Rebuttal to Argument in Favor,” “Argument Against,” and “Rebuttal to Argument Against.”  Letters in favor of the measure were signed by Cynthia Davis, board chair of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation; Gary A. Richwald, former director of the Los Angeles County Sexually Transmitted Disease Program; Derrick Burts, an HIV-positive former adult performer and escort (who went by the stage name of Derek Chambers and allegedly contracted HIV on the set of a condom-mandatory movie he shot in Florida in August 2010); Jeffrey Klausner, professor at the UCLA School of Medicine; Paula Tavrow, director of the UCLA Bixby Program on Population and Reproductive Health; and Amanda Gullesserian, who lists herself as the founder of the International Entertainment Adult Union. AIDS Healthcare foundation, headed by Michael Weinstein, is the author of the ballot measure, and the sole funding source for Prop 60. Burts became a spokesperson for AHF in exchange for the nonprofit agreeing to pay his medical bills for life. Letters against Prop 60 were signed by Chanel Preston, president of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, Jere Ingram, former chair of the California Occupational Safety & Health Standards, Nina Hartley, a registered nurse; Senator Mark Leno, District 11; Jay Gladstein, a doctor of internal medicine and infectious diseases; and Jessica Yasukochi, vice president of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association. All of the voter guide information on Prop 60, including the proposed text of the ballot initiative, can be found at SOS.CA.gov.

 
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