A controversial St. Petersburg city ordinance which requires all “phrenologists, astrologers, palm-readers, soothsayers, fortune-tellers, character readers, spirit mediums, absent treatment healers, or any occupation of similar nature” to be fingerprinted, pay a $44 dollar fee to undergo a background check in order to operate and obtain a business permit.
The Astrology Association of St. Petersburg’s President, Romi Sink has stated she is, “offended” by the ordinance and that it “singles out” people in her field.
“The way it is written makes us feel like gypsy, fortune-telling con people that the community has agreed to grudgingly accept,” says Romi Sink, further stating that, “We are honest people who contribute to society. I feel like we’ve gone back 200 years to witch-hunting. And society has come too far for that.”
There is one loophole however to this ordinance, “ministers of any faith” are exempt from the background screening. This includes any secular clergy, including ministers ordained online from the Universal Life Church. One such individual in St. Petersburg has become an ordained minister; Charles Eminizer, age 68 who lives his life as a Psychic Entertainer by the name Dr. Shane. He has expressed concern over the discriminatory ordinance stating,
“Who are these people who are fortune-tellers? They’re people trying to make a living the best way they can,” he says. “This is just another way to hold poor people down.”
For fifty years, the St. Petersburg city ordinance has been preserved until its most recent revision by the city council this June. The council met to remove a provision which required fortune-tellers and the like to provide five references of “good moral character.”
Romi Sink of the St. Petersburg Astrology Association views the ordinance in the light of discrimination, stating that “The way it is written, someone practicing astrology is guilty until proven innocent by a background check. Someone who blatantly commits a crime is innocent until proven guilty” adding that,
“They [the city council] are singling us out and putting hoops in the way of people who just want to help other people.”
Source: The St. Petersburg Times