Signatures Gathered for Condom Giveaway Plan

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Source: L. A. Times

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(WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA) — Backers of a campaign to expand the giveaway of condoms say they have gathered enough signatures to put a mandatory distribution program on the citywide ballot.

The measure would require that all businesses that derive more than half of their income from serving alcohol offer free condoms and safe-sex literature to patrons. The measure specifies that at least 500,000 condoms, which will be purchased by the city, be given away each year.

Operators of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a nonprofit group that gathered the signatures, hope to persuade city officials to place the measure on the November general election ballot.

Otherwise, voters will be asked at the March 6, 2001, municipal election to approve the measure, which would in effect double the number of condoms currently provided under a voluntary program within the 6-square-mile city. The measure would quadruple the number of places the condoms will be available, including non-gay establishments.

Last month, West Hollywood leaders voted to try a voluntary distribution plan in gay bars, coffeehouses and adult businesses. But foundation president Michael Weinstein said a recent survey of the city’s 15 gay bars showed only a 64% compliance rate.

"The compliance isn’t good and we think it’s discriminatory to only include gay bars," Weinstein said.

At least 2,310 valid voter signatures were required to have the issue placed on the ballot. Weinstein said his group’s petitions included 2,615.