The American Legion post in Ligonier on Tuesday filed a motion in federal district court for a preliminary injunction on the Indiana statewide smoking ban as long as its case challenging the law’s constitutionality is pending.
The post says the law unfairly allows people to smoke near children in some places but not in veterans’ organizations
Post 243 in June filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, claiming the law is vague, violates equal protection clauses and violates the state’s freedom of conscience provision.
It names the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, Indiana State Department of Health and Noble County Prosecutor Steven Clouse as defendants. The statewide smoking ban, which took effect July 1, generally is meant to protect employees from dangerous, smoke-filled air.
The law includes an exemption for non-profit private clubs, such as the Legion, but it prohibits children from being allowed in the private club’s smoking rooms. The lawsuit argues that the state had no such children prohibitions in regard to casinos, so the Legion should not be treated any differently
“Post 243 as a fraternal club has been irrationally singled out and is intentionally treated differently from gambling facilities,” according to the lawsuit. “There is no rational basis for the difference in treatment.”
According to the lawsuit, the Legion serves food and alcohol to between 25 and 50 people a day. In a typical week there are about 20 children in the post.
According to the lawsuit, the Ligonier post voted to allow smoking within the past two years. In addition, it installed a machine for $916.85 to mitigate the effects of secondhand smoke.
In Tuesday’s motion, the post claims that the law is hindering the post’s fundraising efforts for charity, forcing the members to close the doors or live in fear of prosecution.