On Tuesday, Californians will vote on Proposition 60, a proposed law that will require all adult entertainers working in the state to wear a condom while filming explicit scenes. The measure is being pushed by AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein to stop the spread of HIV in the porn industry, even though there hasn’t been an outbreak of the virus among adult entertainers in 12 years. Measure B, which was voted via ballot initiative in 2012, already mandates condom use among porn actors filming in L.A. County, but it isn’t enforced. Proposition 60 would remedy that by conscripting consumers to act as whistle-blowers if they see the law being violated in an adult film.
Adult entertainers have warned that Proposition 60 amounts to a witch hunt — one that effectively places a bounty on their heads. “You’re incentivizing the viewer to sue us,” actor Tommy Gunn argued in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
In truth, Proposition 60 is a reflection of the ways in which people living with HIV are stigmatized, persecuted and policed across the country. Currently, 33 states have laws on the books that make it a crime to expose a partner to the virus. In 28 states, it’s even a felony to do so. This might sound like a reasonable idea, one that advocates safer sex between individuals, but criminalizing HIV actually serves to force people further into the closet. How the U.S. legal and political system treats HIV is unsafe, unjust and overdue for reform, and the passage of Proposition 60 would only make the problem worse.