A federal appeals court has given Hobby Lobby, the nationwide arts-and-crafts retailer, and Mardel, its subsidiary Christian book chain, a reprieve in their battle against Obama's contraception mandate. The mandate requires employers to provide their employees with health insurance that offers free contraception, including “morning after” pills known to cause abortion.
On June 27 the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled that the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby and Mardel had sufficiently demonstrated that they would likely prevail in proving that their religious freedoms would be compromised if they were forced to obey the mandate. The ruling reversed a lower court's refusal to provide a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the mandate while the Hobby Lobby case proceeds in court.
In 2012, when Hobby Lobby/Mardel filed suit to stop enforcement of the mandate, founder and CEO David Green explained that “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. We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”
The latest court ruling means that, while the case proceeds, Hobby Lobby and Mardel will not be subject to the estimated $1.3 million per day in fines that would have been imposed on them as of July 1 for their refusal to obey the mandate. The companies, founded by Green and family as biblically based businesses, have a combined total of some 14,000 full-time employees eligible for company-provided health insurance.
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