Court overturns denial of injunction to Hobby Lobby in fight against HHS mandate
WASHINGTON, DC, June 27, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Today, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a major victory to Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., by reversing and remanding a lower court ruling that had denied the Christian-owned arts and crafts chain a temporary injunction against the HHS mandate.
Without the injunction, Hobby Lobby was risking fines of up to $1.3 million daily while challenging the Obama administration’s mandate in court. The HHS mandate requires that all employers pay for contraceptives, abortifacient drugs and sterilizations in their employees health plans. It went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year for secular employers.
The 10th Circuit Court has now returned the case to the district court with instruction to consider whether to grant Hobby Lobby a preliminary injunction.
“Today marks a milestone in Hobby Lobby’s fight for religious liberty,” said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who is representing the retailer. “This is a tremendous victory not only for the Green family and for their business, but also for many other religious business owners who should not have to forfeit their faith to make a living.”
The 10th Circuit reasoned Hobby Lobby has, “established a likelihood of success that their rights under this statute are substantially burdened by the contraceptive-coverage requirement, and have established an irreparable harm. But we remand the case to the district court for further proceedings on two of the remaining factors governing the grant or denial of a preliminary injunction.”
“We are encouraged by today’s decision from the 10th Circuit,” said David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. ”My family and I believe very strongly in our conviction that life begins at conception, and the emergency contraceptives that we would be forced to provide in our employee health plan under this mandate are contrary to that conviction.
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“We believe that business owners should not have to be forced to choose between following their faith and following the law. We will continue to fight for our religious freedom, and we appreciate the prayers of support we have received.”
Founded in an Oklahoma City garage in 1972, the Green family has grown Hobby Lobby from one 300-square-foot retail space into more than 500 stores in over 40 states. “It is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured,” said Green. “Therefore we seek to honor God by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.”
Earlier this year pro-life activists organized a "Hobby Lobby Appreciation Day," on which thousands of pro-life activists shopped at the arts and crafts chain to express their support for their fight for religious freedom.
Hobby Lobby is the largest business to file a lawsuit against the HHS mandate. The Green family says it has no moral objection to the use of preventive contraceptives and will continue covering them in Hobby Lobby’s health plan. However, the Green family’s religious convictions prohibit them from providing or paying for the abortion-inducing drugs, the “morning-after” and “week-after” pills, which would violate their deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception.
The business’s lawsuit acts to preserve its right to carry out its mission free from government coercion.
There are now 60 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate. The Becket Fund currently represents: Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network, Ave Maria University, and Belmont Abbey College.