Hobby Lobby, the family owned arts and crafts chain opening a new store in Burbank in a few days, has been handed a major victory by the U.S. Supreme Court. It was announced today that the deeply divided high court had ruled in a 5-4 decision that privately owned corporations could not be required to provide contraceptive coverage for employees under the Affordable Care Act.
The evangelical Christian family of David and Barbara Green that owns Hobby Lobby objects to certain birth control methods and devices, which they claim violate their pro-life religious beliefs. Also, joining Hobby Lobby in the case, furniture manufacturer, Conestoga Wood Specialties, owned by Norman Hahn, a Mennonite. The companies challenged Obamacare under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
In the majority decision, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said: “The Hahns and the Greens believe that providing the coverage demanded by the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) regulation is connected to the destruction of an embryo in a way that is sufficient to make it immoral for them to provide the coverage.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissent the decision opened up a minefield: “Suppose an employer’s sincerely held religious belief is offended by health coverage of vaccines, or paying the minimum wage.” Justice Ginsburg summed up the ruling by saying it would cripple the rights of workers “who do not share their employer’s religious beliefs.”
The ruling will directly affect thousands of employees at the more than 570 Hobby Lobby stores nationwide, including the new store scheduled to open at 641 North Victory Boulevard in Burbank on July 4th. Hobby Lobby has completed most of its hiring for the Media City Store, but will be taking applications at the store for retail hourly personnel after the grand opening on Friday.