The founder and former owner of Domino's Pizza is the latest to win a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of the Obama administration's contraception mandate, which requires employers to provide free birth control — including abortifacient drugs — to their employees.
Thomas Monaghan (pictured), a Roman Catholic who ran the Domino's Pizza chain on his religious principles before selling it to Bain Capital in 1998, is now a real estate developer who helped to found the Ave Maria community in Florida, which is home to the Catholic Ave Maria University.
Last month Monaghan filed suit against the contraception mandate on behalf of his Michigan-based property management firm, Domino's Farms Corporation, charging that requiring the company to make available abortion-causing drugs like Plan B and other so-called “morning after” contraceptives would violate the moral and religious convictions by which he operates the business.
On December 31 Michigan District Court Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff granted Monaghan an emergency injunction blocking the mandate's requirements for his company while his suit moves forward.
In his ruling Zatkoff wrote that forcing Monaghan to abide by the mandate would “substantially burden his exercise of religion. Because plaintiffs' claims involve a First Amendment right, and because the court has found some likelihood that plaintiffs' ... claim will succeed on the merits, the court finds that irreparable harm could result to plaintiff.”
Zatkoff noted that any supposed harm of “delaying the implementation of a statute that may later be deemed constitutional is outweighed by the risk of substantially burdening the free exercise of religion. Moreover, the harm of carving out, at least temporarily, an additional exemption for an organization with less than 100 employees can hardly be considered a significant or 'irreparable' harm to the Government.”
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Photo of Thomas Monaghan: AP Images