Kalamazoo has an old ordinance that makes it illegal to engage in the business of “phrenology, palmistry, or the telling of fortunes.” In December 2014 Kalamazoo police officers threatened to enforce this ordinance against Rev. Mark Hassett, a self-described spiritualist minister and practicing pagan, who was planning to perform a spiritual reading with a client at a local bookstore.

The ACLU of Michigan wrote a letter to Kalamazoo officials warning that the ordinance is unconstitutional restriction of freedom of speech because the government has no business deciding which spiritual beliefs are “correct” and which are “fraudulent.”

The city attorney immediately responded and said he was instructing police not to enforce the ordinance, and that he would recommend that the city repeal the ordinance in 2015.

(ACLU Attorney Miriam Aukerman and Legal Fellow Marc Allen.)

To view the full 2014-2015 Legal Docket, click here.

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