Dozens of protesters rallied in front of the Burbank Hobby Lobby at noon today, forcing the grand opening ceremony to move inside the store. The demonstrators were protesting Hobby Lobby because of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last Monday. In a landmark 5-4 decision, the high court ruled Hobby Lobby could deny coverage in its employee health plan for certain contraceptives, such as “I-U-Ds” and the “morning-after” pills. Company co-founders, David and Barbara Green, claim those types of birth control violate their pro-life religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby has more than 570 stores nationwide. Nearly 70 percent of its employees are women.
Marsh Hunt of Los Angeles is a member of the group Craft Options. She came to the protest today to offer coupons and gift certificate for other retailers to Hobby Lobby customers and to “… support women who work here ..” they “… deserve quality health care.”
Amanda Biers-Melcher of Burbank says she came to the protest because she feels the U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Hobby Lobby to opt out of covering certain contraceptives is “… chipping away at our rights as women.” Activist/protest organizer, Lauren Steiner, believes the high court majority of five conservative males, “… declared war on women.” Steiner came dressed as a vagina with a sign in the middle that said “read my lips end war on women.”
A shopper from Glendale, who gave her name as Brenda S., felt the demonstration went “too far.” She admitted to being anti-abortion and supporting the supreme court ruling. She described the Burbank Hobby Lobby as “nice” and the workers “friendly.” She plans to shop at Hobby Lobby again.
Meanwhile, the ribbon cutting ceremony was held inside the store with some Hobby Lobby employees, corporate brass, and local officials, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s field deputy, Rita Hadjimanoukian, Mike Thomas and Eric Foster of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, and Burbank Mayor, Dr. David Gordon.
When asked by reporters about the Hobby Lobby controversy, Mayor Gordon said “people are free to express” their opinion. Gordon says he came to the grand opening ceremony to “welcome a new business, not to pass judgment on any national issue.”