A Federal judge rejected San Francisco-based Hobby Lobby’s request to block part of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare plan that would require the arts and crafts chain to provide insurance coverage for morning-after and week-after birth control pills to employees.
A 28-page ruling handed down in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., vs. Sebelius by U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton rejects claims from Hobby Lobby and its sister company Mardel Inc. that the healthcare mandate violates the owners’ 1st Amendment rights as well as rights guaranteed by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion,” the ruling said.
Hobby Lobby CEO and founder David Green says that his family’s religious beliefs are being persecuted by the government mandate.
“By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow,” he said. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”
The companies’ legal representatives, however, say they are confident that they will win an appeal in the case.
“Every American, including family business owners like the Greens, should be free to live and do business according to their religious beliefs,” Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said in a statement.