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Legion seeks injunction in smoking-ban dispute

Publication Date: 9/11/2012
  • Author:Rebecca S. Green
  • Publication:The Journal Gazette

A federal judge will hear arguments on whether to grant an injunction against Indiana’s smoking ban.

Filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon ordered a hearing for later this month in the lawsuit filed by American Legion Post 243 in Ligonier.

In their lawsuit, filed in June against the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, Indiana Department of Health, and Noble County Prosecutor Steve Clouse, the Legion post asked the federal court to prohibit enforcement of the statewide smoking ban.

The ban has an exemption for non-private clubs, such as the American Legion, but prohibits children from being allowed in the club’s smoking rooms.

The lawsuit argued that the state’s new rule doesn’t prohibit smoking in casinos, so there is no reason to “single out” fraternal clubs...

Last week, attorneys with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office addressed the request for an injunction. They argued the post is, by definition, a public place, and fraternal organizations like the American Legion must take precautions to ensure that smoking does not take place in the presence of children.

They also argued the post cannot assert the smoking ban violates their conscience.

“There is no case law to support the assertion that the constitutional right to freedom of conscience protects the right to smoke in public places,” the state’s attorneys argued in court documents.

The state also filed a motion to dismiss the case...