La. Parish Repeals Ordinance Banning Fortunetelling

A Louisiana parish has repealed an ordinance prohibiting fortunetelling and soothsaying after a federal judge found the ban unconstitutional.

Wiccan minister Cliff Eakin’s business sued Livingston Parish (the Louisiana term for county) over its anti-soothsaying ordinance earlier this year. Eakin argued that inspiration from the divine transmitted by a Wiccan minister should be treated the same legally as a message from God transmitted to a congregation by a Christian minister.

Eakin also argued that those who defraud others using fortunetelling should be prosecuted under fraud laws, not under a blanket ordinance that infringes on people’s spiritual beliefs. He said that at least 100 members of the Wiccan faith live in Livingston Parish and said they are affected by the ordinance. 

In Gryphon’s Nest Gifts Inc. v. Parish of Livingston, U.S. District Judge James J. Brady found the ordinance to be unconstitutionally vague.

At the advice of the council’s attorney, Livingston Parish Council voted 7-1 to repeal the ordinance rather than appeal the decision.

“It was in the stars,” Eakin happily commented after the council’s decision.