The US Supreme Court faces a major issue in a religious rights case, which could see a ruling that companies can exercise religious freedom to exempt them from complying with federal law – a decision that would have far-ranging impact.
The Hobby Lobby case involves a key decision as to whether the company, Hobby Lobby, can find itself exempt from federal law based upon the religious beliefs of its shareholders.
If Hobby Lobby succeed in their argument, and the Supreme Court Justices seem somewhat all over the place on the issue, then the decision will have repercussions across the United States for both corporations and individuals.
A favorable decision could, for instance, open the door to states like Arizona’s controversial religious freedom law permitting businesses to refuse to serve LGBT people. And that is just the beginning.
It could extend to vaccination and health issues, women issues, taxes and discrimination, minimum wages . . the list goes on.
Huffington Post reports that Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a Christian-owned crafts supply chain, and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., owned by Mennonite Christians, are challenging the provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires for-profit companies to include all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives in their health insurance plans.
Hobby Lobby’s attorneys argue that the law violates the company’s constitutional right to religious freedom by forcing it to cover all forms of birth control or pay steep fines. The company’s owners are morally opposed to intrauterine devices and emergency contraception, believing it to be a form of abortion, though medical studies have debunked that claim.
The contraception mandate does include exceptions for churches and a special accommodation for religiously affiliated nonprofits, such as schools and hospitals. But for-profit corporations are required to cover the full range of women’s preventative care, including birth control, intrauterine devices and emergency contraception, at no cost to their female employees.