MACON, Ga. (CN) - A woman who runs a "spiritual wellness" business claims the City of Centerville is running her out of town because of an unconstitutional ordinance that prohibits "fortunetelling, phrenology, astrology, clairvoyance, palmistry, spiritualism or other kindred practices, businesses or professions where a charge is made or a donation is accepted for the services."
Courtney Bibb says she secured a business license and the mayor attended the ribbon-cutting for her shop, Energy Among Us, in February.
Plaintiff operates a business that focuses on spiritual wellness," Bibb says in her federal complaint. "Plaintiff sells books, candles, incense, crystals, tarot cards, angel cards, and other items relating to spiritual wellness and healing. In addition, plaintiff offers various services related to spiritual wellness, including tarot card readings or therapy, angel card readings or therapy, palm reading, group meditation, group energy healing, chakra or energy alignment, reflexology, reiki, dream interpretation, and crystal ball readings."
Apparently, things went well The Macon Telegraph ran a story about her in its March 28 edition. The article mentioned a Mind, Body and Spirit Expo that Bibb plans to host this Saturday. This expo will include "sessions and demonstrations on meditation techniques, life coaching, organic gardening and soap making, drum circles, tai chi and reflexology."
On April 12, Bibb says, she received a letter from the Centerville city clerk, stating that her business violates City Ordinance Section 6-1, "Fortunetelling and similar practices prohibited." The clerk told her to close down her business, she says.
Bibb says the letter stated: "A review of your business license application, filled out by you, describes your business as a 'wellness center/bookstore.' Had you disclosed the entire nature of your business at the time you applied for a license, any lack of awareness, or misunderstanding of the applicable city ordinance could have been cleared up."
Sorry, Bibb says, that's unconstitutional. She seeks declaratory judgment, costs and nominal damages. She is represented by Charles Cox.
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