Ill. Mayor Vetoes Adult Store Ban Against Town Wishes

Anne Winter
FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. — The mayor vetoed a law passed two weeks ago that would ban adult businesses from the city, despite opposition from town officials.

The law, which initially was named unconstitutional by City Attorney Al Paulson, was passed Sept. 4 by an 8-1 vote. Mayor Gail Mitchell later vetoed the law on grounds of constitutionality.

"I was elected to uphold the Constitution of the U.S.," Mitchell said. "That's what I'm doing."

However, regardless of constitutional protection, it is possible for the city council to override Mitchell's veto with a two-thirds majority vote.

"[Mitchell] is obviously well-informed by the city attorney that it is unconstitutional to absolutely ban any type of adult entertainment or adult bookstore," adult industry attorney Robert Apgood told XBIZ. "All that any municipality or governmental entity can do is regulate the time, place and manner of allowing it to be offered to the public."

Despite legal advising, many city officials still believe they have the right to ban adult stores in the area.

"There are other cities where they have done it," Alderwoman Pat Baeske said. "We just haven't kept [adult stores] out."

Apgood said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an absolute ban on protected speech is unconstitutional, and that Baeake simply is wrong.

Mitchell said he does not yet know what he will do if the council overrules his veto, and that he will wait to deal with it should the situation arise.