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Date of Issue: January 20, 2010

Moose bans smoking, bars women vote

Full members of the Moose’s Anna Maria Island Lodge No. 2188 voted Jan. 16 to ban smoking.

The vote was 165 to ban smoking, 52 to continue to allow smoking, according to Patrick Kane, governor of the lodge.

“We are a non-smoking establishment,” he said.

The vote proved controversial, but not because the lodge went smoke-free at 8 a.m. Jan. 17.

Women members of the Bradenton Beach lodge who have auxiliary status were not allowed to vote.

“I felt I was going back to the Suffragettes,” said Moose member Olga Chupka, who, along with a number of other women, went to the lodge planning to vote Jan. 16.

She said a man inside the lodge told her and others, “Ladies, you may as well walk outside. You are not allowed to vote.”

“We actually made a call to Moose International to check,” Kane later told The Islander. “And they said, ‘No, women are not members of the lodge.’”

Kane said that the women who join become members of the chapter, not the lodge.

Members at the lodge Jan. 16 said that distinction is spelled out in the membership application. But Chupka said it’s a distinction that is discriminatory.

“I truly will not be a member anymore. When it comes to renewing, no way,” she said.

For the record, Chupka said she would have voted to ban smoking.

Florida public health law — chapter 386 —generally bans indoor smoking “to protect people from the health hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke.” But there are exceptions to the law. Membership associations such as the Moose also can be exempt.