The Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, said he also was pleased with the court ruling.
“Even as we are examining the ruling closely to see whether it provides the real relief from the mandate that employers with religious objections need, we are hopeful that this signals the Court’s understanding of the fundamental importance of religious liberty, our first and most cherished freedom,” Coakley said in a prepared statement.
Some decry ruling
Women’s reproductive rights groups countered that the ruling wrongly placed the religious freedom of employers above employees’ rights to affordable health care coverage.
“Today, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to women’s health. For the first time, the Court has given some bosses the right to allow their religious beliefs to trump the health needs of their employees,” Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, said in a statement. “Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood and other closely held corporations will now have a license to harm their female employees in the name of religion.”
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement that employers should not have the right to control women’s health care decisions.
“Today’s decision from five male justices is a direct attack on women and our fundamental rights,” Hogue said.
“This ruling goes out of its way to declare that discrimination against women isn’t discrimination.”
Meanwhile, the Rev. Bruce Prescott of Norman, a retired Baptist minister, said he was disappointed by the ruling.
“He (Hobby Lobby founder David Green) wants to have the benefits of being a corporation but also the benefits of a religious nonprofit,” Prescott said. “They are muddling things when they allow him to do this.”
Prescott, a member of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the ruling set a dangerous precedent.
He said the court “trampled” over the religious liberty rights of the company’s employees when it comes to health care.
“We’re getting rid of affirmative action. We’re getting rid of voting rights. We’re finding ways that now you can discriminate on the basis of religion. We’re going back to the 1950s,” he said.