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Hobby Lobby, government ask for delay in case over health care law, contraception

Attorneys for Hobby Lobby, Mardel and their Oklahoma City-based owners, the Green family, have joined with government attorneys to ask for a stay in their case while a Denver court considers an appeal.
by Paul Monies Modified: December 11, 2012 at 8:47 pm •  Published: December 11, 2012

In his ruling on the preliminary injunction, Heaton said the Green family was separate from its incorporated businesses. As secular business entities, Hobby Lobby and Mardel were unlikely to win on claims of religious freedom under the First Amendment or a federal law protecting religious exercise, Heaton said.

Hobby Lobby attorneys said in an appeal filed last week that four other federal district courts have granted preliminary injunctions to business owners in similar cases.

“The district court missed the obvious: ruining a believer's business with fines unless he violates his faith substantially burdens religious exercise,” the attorneys wrote.

“Granting the motion would allow them to continue offering employees the current health plan, with all the mandated preventive services — including most contraceptives — less one small subset of drugs that can cause abortions.”

Government attorneys said Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular corporation, not a religious organization. The law allows exemptions for religious employers.

“The obligation to cover contraceptive services lies with the Hobby Lobby group health plan, which, like Hobby Lobby itself, is a legal entity separate and distinct from the corporation's owners,” government attorneys wrote.

by Paul Monies
Energy Reporter
Paul Monies is an energy reporter for The Oklahoman. He has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and most recently was a data journalist for USA Today in the Washington D.C. area. Monies also spent nine years as a business reporter and...
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