WEST HOLLYWOOD: City Might Vote on Mandatory Condoms in Bars
West Hollywood is one step closer to mandating that bars in the city distribute condoms to patrons. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a not-for-profit group, says it has gathered enough signatures to put a mandatory distribution program -- which would require all businesses that "derive more than half of their income from serving alcohol" to offer free condoms and safe-sex literature -- on the citywide ballot. The measure specifies that the bars must distribute at least 500,000 city-purchased condoms. Backers of the initiative hope to convince city officials to place the measure on the November general ballot. If that does not happen, voters will see the measure at the March 6, 2001 municipal election.
Voluntary Approach Didn't Work
If approved, the measure would double the number of condoms provided under a voluntary program that was passed last month and quadruple the number of establishments offering condoms. Condoms are currently distributed at gay bars, coffeehouses and adult businesses. But a recent survey found that the 15 gay bars in the city "showed only a 64% compliance" rate. "The compliance rate isn't good and we think it's discriminatory to only include gay bars," AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein said (Los Angeles Times 2/24).