A Maryland man who refers to himself as a Gypsy is claiming discrimination in the case of a Bethesda, Maryland law that forbids "foretelling the future." And.. the ACLU is on his side.
He claims that as a Gypsy, it's his historical heritage to open a fortune telling business, and that it's only because of the desire to drive Gypsies away that the law was put in place.
After you read the article, you may notice that most of the comments are in favor of the ban being overturned. And I'm in agreement.
Finn from San Marcos, TX had this comment on witchvox.com:
I view the matter in a simple, direct way. If someone wants to sell their services as a fortuneteller (or any other name which means the same thing) then they should have to prove them adequate to the task. Plumbers must be able to plumb. Mechanics have to be able to fix your car. Carpenters who build your house have to be able to do the job. If they do a shoddy job, the consumer has recourse.
This means that fortunetellers who sell their services as genuine must be able to pass some sort of test showing that they can actually do it. Otherwise they must have a massive sign that says "WE ARE NOT REAL. THIS IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT VALUE ONLY. YOU WILL GET JUST AS GOOD ADVICE THROWING A DART AT THE PAPER." I have no problem with those who claim they can see the future, talk to the dead, read your aura, and so on. I merely state that in the interest of consumer protection, they must prove their competency the moment they start charging for it.
And we have just the test!
Finn is completely right. These laws are enacted for two reasons: 1) To drive Gypsies away, as the man claims and 2) to prevent blasphemy. Neither of these is ethical in my view. Groups should not be driven away, and blasphemy should be legal.
While I'm certainly not in favor of people pretending to tell the future without a FOR ENTERTAINMENT ONLY sign, I'm also not in favor of these laws.
Why? Well, you see... we already have laws to protect us against fortune telling. The crime is very specific: it's called fraud. Now we just need to get some law enforcement folks interested in prosecuting it.